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Beau James Reviews

This film is a real letdown, considering that its subject was the most colorful mayor New York City ever had, the singing, dancing, and quipping James J. Walker. Hope plays Walker and is shown rising from political obscurity because the mighty arm of Tammany (in the form of bulky Douglas) pushes him upward until he becomes the mayor of Gotham. He never takes the job seriously, allowing corrupt minions and a police force on the take to loot the city coffers and collect bribes in the millions. Most of the dull plot is concerned with Walker's love affair with dancer Betty Compton (angrily played by Miles), who went on, after dumping Walker, to an unspectacular film career. She battles Walker's estranged wife (Smith) for her man. Although the production values are high and the glittering aura of the Roaring Twenties comes through loud and clear, Hope cannot deal with the drama and merely wisecracks his way through a role he at times almost reduces to burlesque.