The Duke Is Tops

The Duke Is Tops with Lena Horne. Producer Duke Davis is "small town" successful with his touring review "Sepia Scandals" starring Ethel Andrews (Lena Horne). A New York talent agent sees Ethel and believes she can make it in The Big City, but there is no room in his plan for Duke. Ethel won't leave Duke so he pretends to be a cad to push her away from him and into this great opportunity.

Duke tries to continue without Ethel, but his new shows are all flops. He starts over from the bottom by "producing" the show of a patent medicine salesman, and becomes moderately successful again. After being successful as a solo "specialty" act in New York, Ethel is offered a starring role at the Century Club but she quickly flops. Duke comes to her rescue by going to New York and rewriting her show to incorporate his travelling medicine show. Happy Ending.

This was Lena Horne's first movie. It had an all black cast, which according to some newspaper articles at the time was referred to as a "sepia" cast. I think it was intended for black audiences.

Familiar face: Lillian Randolph (Annie the housekeeper from It's a Wonderful Life) as a patent medicine customer suffering from sciatica.


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