Queen Of The Nightclubs

  • 1929
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

Little remembered today, this tale of speakeasies and murder is significant for two reasons. First, it introduced George Raft to films, and, second, it immortalized one of the great characters of the whole prohibition era, Texas Guinan, here playing a thinly disguised but heavily fictionalized version of herself. Guinan was born in Texas, but as a young...read more

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Little remembered today, this tale of speakeasies and murder is significant for two reasons. First, it introduced George Raft to films, and, second, it immortalized one of the great characters of the whole prohibition era, Texas Guinan, here playing a thinly disguised but heavily

fictionalized version of herself. Guinan was born in Texas, but as a young woman she drifted first to Chicago, then to New York as a dancer, actress, and occasional rodeo bronc rider. After WW I she began appearing in two-reel westerns, eventually making over 300 silent shorts. By the middle of

the 1920s, she was the hostess at New York's swankiest nightspot, greeting each customer with a cheery, "Hello, sucker!" Thanks to the attention of such customers as Walter Winchell and Mark Hellinger, Guinan was soon a household name, and in 1929 she returned to Hollywood to star in a movie about

her life. The story bears little resemblance to real events, with Guinan a nightclub proprietor who hires Lee to perform in her club. This causes the breakup of an act that Lee had with Foy. Later, Davidson, a friend of Guinan's, is murdered by an old business associate of hers, Housman. Evidence

points to Foy and he is arrested. Guinan discovers that Foy is in reality her long-lost son, and in court she manages to persuade the jurors to come to the nightclub where they find evidence that proves Foy innocent and sends Housman to prison. Soon thereafter, Norworth, Guinan's equally long-lost

husband, comes back to her. Raft has a relatively small part doing the dizzyingly fast Charleston he used to perform at the real Guinan's clubs when he wasn't rolling drunks in the bathroom. The film was a tedious melodrama of little interest except to the curious. Guinan hams it up as herself,

and none of the other performances are much better. Guinan spent the next years living off her reputation before dying in 1933 at age 49. Includes Guinan singing "It's Tough to Be a Hostess on Broadway."

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Little remembered today, this tale of speakeasies and murder is significant for two reasons. First, it introduced George Raft to films, and, second, it immortalized one of the great characters of the whole prohibition era, Texas Guinan, here playing a thin… (more)

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