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Beau James

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Beau James
Directed byMelville Shavelson
Produced byJack Rose
Written byJack Rose
Melville Shavelson
StarringBob Hope
Vera Miles
Paul Douglas
Alexis Smith
Darren McGavin
Narrated byWalter Winchell
Music byJoseph J. Lilley
CinematographyJohn F. Warren
Edited byFloyd Knudtson
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 7, 1957 (1957-06-07)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.75 million (US)[1]

Beau James is a 1957 film based on a non-fiction book of the same name by Gene Fowler. The film stars Bob Hope in a rare dramatic role as Jimmy Walker, the colorful but controversial Mayor of New York City from 1926–32.


In 1925, New York's governor, Al Smith, persuades state senator James J. "Jimmy" Walker that the Democratic Party needs him to run for mayor of New York City. A concern on Jimmy's part is his estrangement from wife Allie, but he discovers that she is willing to go along with his political aims.

Under the guidance of Chris Nolan, his political mentor, Jimmy wins the election in a landslide. He later learns, though, that Allie has no intention of renewing their relationship. She is simply satisfied to be the great city's first lady.

A drunken Jimmy is found on a park bench by Betty Compton, who takes him home, not knowing who he is. She scolds him for his behavior upon learning Jimmy is the mayor, and a mutual attraction develops. He uses his political connections to help find her a job.

Such favors and graft become a focal point in 1929's reelection campaign, when opponent Fiorello LaGuardia mocks the mayor publicly and questions the current administration's integrity. Jimmy also goes bankrupt due to the stock market's crash, and Betty grows despondent over his inability or unwillingness to get Allie to consent to a divorce.

Still popular with the public, Jimmy is reelected. He tries to bring Betty to his victory party, but it is against his colleagues' wishes. Tired of being hidden, Betty attempts suicide. She is hustled out of the country by Chris and impulsively marries a man who has been courting her.

The charges against Jimmy lead fellow Democrats to believe he could hurt Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential hopes for 1932. Jimmy admits to having accepted bribes and favors, claiming all successful politicians do. His popularity erodes. Spectators at a Yankee Stadium baseball game boo him for the first time. Jimmy offers his resignation as mayor in a speech from the field. He decides to leave New York, whereupon Betty, after a quick divorce, intends to join him, married or not.



Beau James was the second of two major dramatic roles Hope ever attempted in his long film career, the first being The Seven Little Foys released two years earlier. Beau James also marked his final film for Paramount Pictures, ending a 20-year association with the studio that began with Hope's breakthrough role in The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938). American prints of this film are narrated by Walter Winchell; in Britain, the film was narrated by Alistair Cooke. One of the most memorable lines is when Walker is asked at a baseball game about a personal conduct scandal and replies: "My comment, and you can quote me, is I hope the Yankees win." The film includes unbilled appearances by Jimmy Durante and Jack Benny as themselves.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, January 8, 1958: 30
  2. ^ Beau James, retrieved 2019-04-19
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