Ostensibly based of the life and violent death of glamorous New York mobster Arnold Rothstein, this early talkie from Universal featured Broadway actor John Wray as Mort Bradstreet, a powerful but crooked political boss whose friendship with Jay Grant (John Harron) turns sour when Grant is revealed to be a muckraking newspaper reporter. Scheming to have the reporter "taken care of," Mort is himself gunned down by a rival gang. In the mistaken belief that the gangster will recover, Grant readies his exposé, but when Mort is pronounced dead, the reporter decides that their friendship would not permit him to submit the story. Instead, he leaves the paper and begins a new life with Mort's erstwhile moll, Connie (Betty Compson). Directed by William J. Craft, a longtime Universal hack who had helmed scores of inexpensive Westerns in the silent days, The Czar of Broadway proved an especially leaden entry in the first wave of "all-talking" gangster melodramas.
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