AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Hi Nellie!
Director: Mervyn LeRoy (Dir)
Release Date:   20 Jan 1934
Duration (in mins):   75
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Paul Muni (Brad [Samuel N. Bradshaw])  
    Glenda Farrell (Gerry [Krale])  
    Ned Sparks (Shammy)  
    Robert Barrat ([Beau] Brownell)  
    Berton Churchill ([J. L.] Graham)  
    Kathryn Sergava (Grace)  
    Hobart Cavanaugh (Fullerton)  
    Douglas Dumbrille ([Harvey] Dawes)  
    Edward Ellis (O'Connell)  
    Paul Kaye (Helwig)  
    Donald Meek (Durkin)  
    Dorothy La Baire (Rosa Marinello)  
    Marjorie Gateson (Mrs. Canfield)  
    George Meeker (Sheldon)  
    Harold Huber (Leo)  
    Allen Vincent (Nick Grassi)  
    Pat Wing (Sue)  
    Frank Reicher (Nathan)  
    George Chandler (Danny)  
    George Humbert (Marinello)  
    Sidney Miller (Louie)  
    James Donlan (Evans)  
    Milton Kibbee (Dwyer)  
    Harry Seymour (Drunk)  
    Ralph McCullough (a poker player)  
    Gus Reed (Mac)  
    Harold Miller (Graham's secretary)  
    Nina Campana (Italian woman)  
    John M. Qualen (Janitor)  
    Antonio Filauri (Head waiter)  
    Howard Hickman (Dr. Wilson)  
    Sidney Skolsky    

Summary: When managing editor Samuel N. Bradshaw, known as Brad, learns that prominent lawyer Frank J. Canfield, the head of the governor's investigating committee, has disappeared along with a large sum of money, he refuses to make the story front page news, because there is no proof that the normally honest Canfield absconded with the missing funds. After every other paper in town features the story with inch-high headlines, the paper's owner, J. L. Graham, chastises Brad for missing the scoop. Brad defends Canfield and J. L. fires him. When Brad points out that his contract does not allow him to be fired, J. L. agrees to keep him on staff as the writer of the lonely hearts column. The current writer, ace reporter Gerry Krale, who had herself been demoted to that position by Brad, is delighted by the news. Brad is furious but has no choice other than to accept the position. He keeps his eye on the Canfield story, however, with the help of Shammy, another reporter. After Gerry accuses him of having no guts because he cannot handle a job that she did without complaining for eight months, Brad puts his skills to work on the column and it becomes extremely popular. One day, Rosa Marinello comes to the newspaper office looking for Nellie Nelson, the pseudonym of the column's author. She begs Nellie to intercede with her undertaker father, who no longer wants her to marry her fiancĂ©. When Brad learns that Canfield was last seen at the same address where Rosa lives, he agrees to go. Brad and Shammy learn that gangsters Marinello and Beau Brownell attended a burial around the time of Canfield's disappearance and that the death certificate was forged. They then discover that Canfield was framed and murdered by his rival, Thompson. Brad advises Brownell to dig up Canfield's body and transfer it to another grave. He gets a photograph of the body and rushes it to the paper. The result is that Brownell is tried for murder, Canfield's name is cleared, and Brad, whose responsible journalism has been vindicated, is returned to the managing editor position. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
  The Vitaphone Corp.  
Director: Mervyn LeRoy (Dir)
Producer: Robert Presnell (Prod)
  Hal B. Wallis (Exec prod)
  Jack L. Warner (Exec prod)
Writer: Abem Finkle (Scr)
  Sidney Sutherland (Scr)
  Roy Chanslor (Story)
Photography: Sol Polito (Photog)
Art Direction: Robert Haas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Bill Holmes (Film ed)
Costumes: Orry-Kelly (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Vitaphone Orch cond)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 24/1/1934 dd/mm/yyyy LP4431

Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: Newspaper
 
Subjects (Major): Ethics
  Gangsters
  Moral corruption
  Reporters
 
Subjects (Minor): Business competition
  Cemeteries
  Contracts
  Corpses
  Employer-employee relations
  False accusations
  Fathers and daughters
  Murder
  Politicians
  Undertakers and undertaking

Note: Chanslor's story was the basis for three more Warner Bros. films: Love Is on the Air in 1937 (see below); You Can't Escape Forever , starring George Brent and directed by Jo Graham in 1942; and The House Across the Street in 1949, directed by Richard Bare with Wayne Morris in the lead role. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   24 Jan 34   p. 3.
Film Daily   1 Feb 34   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Oct 33   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Jan 34   p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily   25 Jan 34   p.8.
Motion Picture Herald   3 Feb 34   p. 33, 36
New York Times   1 Feb 34   p. 15.
Variety   6 Feb 34   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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