The Bowery (1933) *


Raucous and generally convincing portrait of life in New York's gay nineties, a sprawling tapestry of booze, broads and brawls, focusing on the rivalry between gambling king Raft and saloon supremo Beery, and especially their mutual attraction to good girl Fay.

The narrative moves swiftly if not necessarily in any recognisable direction: whenever the audience's attention looks set to wander, a new thread is developed, played out and substituted in turn. The film stops rather than ends, and there is a lot of hurried loose end-tieing that does not, perhaps, play entirely fair by the characterisation.
But as a recreation of an iconic era it is a success comparable to the later San Francisco, and the cast are lively.