Romance in Manhattan
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In the heartwarming 1935 romantic comedy Romance in Manhattan Francis Lederer plays Karel Novak, a wide-eyed illegal immigrant who makes his way to New York without a penny to his name. When he falls in love with beautiful chorus girl Sylvia (Ginger Rogers), Karel is determined to become a legitimate U.S. citizen so he can marry her and stay in America.
Ginger Rogers began filming Romance in Manhattan for RKO just five days after completing her second film with Fred Astaire, The Gay Divorcee (1934). It was the first and only film in which she co-starred with the accomplished Czech actor Francis Lederer. "He was handsome, genuine, and very professional;" she wrote in her 1991 autobiography My Story, "I predicted stardom for him. Alas, it didn't come. The studio didn't know how to handle him or how to buy stories for him. His career never took off."
In a 1996 interview the then 97-year-old Lederer had nothing but good things to say about Rogers. "She was adorable, adorable," he said, "and I became acquainted with both her and her mother. [Making Romance in Manhattan] was a marvelous experience."
Reviews of Romance in Manhattan were enthusiastic. The New York Times called it "a friendly wisp of romantic comedy" and Time magazine said, "Pleasantly played by its principals and directed by Stephen Roberts in the Capra tradition, all this makes an entertaining small-fry comedy, distinguished by its skyline and a few exceptionally funny sequences."
Producer: Pandro S. Berman
Director: Stephen Roberts
Screenplay: Jane Murfin, Edward Kaufman; Norman Krasna, Don Hartman (story)
Cinematography: Nick Musuraca
Art Direction: Charles Kirk, Van Nest Polglase
Music: Alberto Colombo (uncredited)
Film Editing: Jack Hively
Cast: Francis Lederer (Karel Novak), Ginger Rogers (Sylvia Dennis), Arthur Hohl (Halsey J. Pander), Jimmy Butler (Frank Dennis), J. Farrell MacDonald (Officer Murphy), Helen Ware (Miss Anthrop), Eily Malyon (Miss Evans), Lillian Harmer (Mrs. Schultz - Landlady)
BW-77m. Closed Captioning.
by Andrea Passafiume