A Lady for A Day

On Monday morning I watched a movie titled Lady For A Day.  This delightful movie was originally released on September 13, 1933.  Frank Capra directed Lady For A Day.  The movie is based on a short story that was written by Damon Runyon called Madame La Gimp.

Lady For A Day centers around an elderly and poor woman named Apple Annie who sells fruit (apples) in New York City.  Apple Annie has a daughter named Louise who grew up in a convent in Spanish convent in Europe from the time she was an infant.  I could not help but wonder where Apple Annie got the money to send her daughter to Europe to live in a convent and who took her over there.  Anyway, Apple Annie and Louise never see one another, but they write regularly.  Apple Annie made Louise think that she is a wealthy society woman named Mrs E. Worthington Manville and that she lives in the luxury hotel Marberry.  The crap hits the fan when Louise gets engaged to a young man named Carlos and whose father is a Count.   Count Romero will not approve the marriage until he meets Louise’s mother, so all three set sail for New York.  Apple Annie is in a panic because now her daughter will find out that she is poor and lives in a ghetto.

Apple Annie is much-loved and her friends come to the rescue.  All of her friends who are beggars on the street implore Dave the Dude to set Apple Annie up in a luxury apartment at the Marberry so that she can pretend to be Mrs. E. Worthington Manville.  Dave the Dude is a rich gambling gangster who always believed that Apple Annie brings him luck.  Dave will not start a game without first buying an Apple from Annie.  Dave the Dude is first reluctant to get involved with the charade, but then really gets into it along with a cast of characters that makes this movie delightful and very funny.

Australian actress May Robson played the part of Apple Annie and she did a superb job.

Apple Annie outside of the employee entrance of the Hotel Marberry.  One of her friends works there and he has been sneaking the hotel stationery for Annie for years.

Warren William played the part of Dave the Dude.

Screen shots of Dave the Dude and Apple Annie.

Apple Annie is taken to an apartment in the Marberry.  Above is a photo of some of the many cast of characters that are going to help Annie.

Apple Annie is transformed into Mrs. E. Worthington Manville.  Annie looks very much the part, but is still a down to earth woman with a warm heart.

Dave the Dude, Apple Annie and her “husband” are at the pier to meet the steamship arriving with her daughter Louise, Carlos and Count Romero.  A pool hustler named Henry D. Blake poses as Annie’s husband Judge Manville.

Front row:  Apple Annie and pool hustler Henry Blake.  Back row:  Apple Annie’s daughter Louise, Dave the Dude and Missouri Martin.

Carlos, Louise and Apple Annie.

Apple Annie warmly hugs her daughter Louise.

Missouri Martin is played by Glenda Farrell.  Missouri spearheaded Apple Annie’s transformation.  She is also in love with Dave the Dude.

Missouri Martin is also a singer.

Happy McGuire is one of the most hysterically funny characters in Lady For A day.  I was doubled over with laughter throughout this movie because of Happy McGuire.  Happy is brilliantly played by Ned Sparks.

Dave the Dude, Missouri Martin and Apple Annie.

The charade begins to unravel and Apple Annie is afraid that her daughter will find out the truth and never want to see her again.

If you want to know how it ends you will have to watch the movie yourself.  It is delightful and a great movie to sit back and watch with some popcorn on a cold wintry day.

Interestingly enough, Frank Capra had other actors in mind to play the major parts in this movie. Not one of them were made available.  May Robson was cast as Apple Annie just one week before filming began.   The cast of beggars in the movie are people who Frank Capra found congregating on the streets of downtown Los Angeles where he sold newspapers as a boy.

Actress Marie Dressler was Frank Capra’s first choice to play Apple Annie.

W. C. Fields was Frank Capra’s first choice to play pool hustler Henry D. Blake.

Frank Capra made a remake of this movie in 1961 starring Bette Davis and Glenn Ford.  It was renamed Pocket Full of Miracles.

 

Old-Fashioned Charm

6 comments

  1. Toby says:

    I never saw this version, but knew of it. I saw the Bette Davis version “Pocket Full of Miracles and loved it. Very touching – had me crying. I will have to look out for this earlier version on TCM.

    • Xenia says:

      I saw the Bette Davis version too and loved it. There is a version starring Bette Midler, which I also enjoyed. 🙂

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