Manhattan Melodrama

Released – May, 1934 

Directed By – W. S. Van Dyke

Starring – Clark Gable (Edward J. ‘Blackie’ Gallagher, William Powell (Jim Wade), Myrna Loy (Eleanor Packer), Leo Carrillo (Father Joe).

Description– Edward ‘Blackie’ Gallagher and Jim Wade were both orphans and lifelong friends. That’s where the similarity ends as both chose different paths in life.

Gallagher would become a gambler and racketeer while Wade would become District Attorney and run for Governor. Their friendship remained strong even after Gallagher’s girlfriend leaves him and marries Wade. So strong, in fact, that Gallagher murders an attorney who tries to prevent Wade from becoming Governor.

This act would lead to Jim Wade’s last act as District Attorney. He now must capture and prosecute his friend Blackie Gallagher for the murder.

Blackie is found guilty and sentenced to death. This case turns out to be the deciding point in the mind of voters, and Wade is elected Governor.

As Governor, Wade now has the authority to change Blackie’s sentence from death to life in prison. Eleanor tries very hard to get Jim to change the sentence and reveals a secret regarding the killing that was unknown to Jim.

What is the secret and will Jim compromise his principles and commute Blackie’s sentence? The decision is not as easy as it may seem and the outcome included another surprise.

NOTABLE: Manhattan Melodrama won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story.

This film provided one of the first roles for Mickey Rooney, who played Gable’s character as a child and also was the first pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy who would go on to star together in fourteen films.

Manhattan Melodrama earned an unusual place in motion picture history as the film gangster John Dillinger had just seen prior to being shot to death by federal agents.

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