Angels Over Broadway

Angels Over Broadway (also called Before I Die) is a 1940 American film noir about a cuckolded embezzler on the verge of suicide who is helped by a tout, an alcoholic playwright, and a pick-up girl to reimburse the money with a gambling sting.

Rita Hayworth as Nina Barona
Directed by Ben Hecht and Lee Garmes. Written by Ben Hecht.
A Strange and Wonderful Romance...Born Between Heartbreak and Romance!

Bill O'Brien

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  • [on the telephone] Hello, Dutch? Bill O'Brien! Say listen, I'm over at the Pigeon Club takin' in the sights, and, uh, I ran into somethin' that I thought might be of mutual interest to us. An out-of-town job came shoo-shooing in here a while ago and throwin' away money like birdseed.
  • I'm pretending there's something swell about you. This delusion came over me while we were dancing. You know, when you look into a girl's eyes and you think you see someone that isn't there... well that's what I saw.

Nina Barone

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  • Oh, if only I had my slave costume and my chains!
  • [to Bill O'Brien] I'll remember this night for a long time. When things don't seem so good, I'll remember Mr. Gibbons, and Mr. Engle... and you.

Eugene 'Gene' Gibbons

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  • [seeing a waiter put two drinks on the table] Fine, fine! I no longer have to order drinks. I just attract them. He shall have liquor wherever he goes! [to Engle] As I understand from your communication, Mr. Engle, you're on the brink of self-destruction. May I shake your hand? A brilliant idea! I speak as one who has destroyed himself a score of times. I am, Mr. Engle, a veteran corpse. We are all corpses here! This rendezvous is one of the musical graveyards of the town. Caters to zombies hopping around with dead hearts and price tags for souls. Hmmmp! [offering him one of the drinks] Will you join me, sir? It is the custom here for the dead to drink - heavily! [drinks] Allow me to present my credentials as a fellow cadaver. I'm being divorced by my wife whom I love dearly in my own nasty way. I was disemboweled by another woman. I have written three bad plays in a row, and next year I'll write a worse one. I have neither a home, a single hope, nor a shred of curiosity left. Bankrupt and broke, I've destroyed myself, sir, in becoming famous. I am no longer a man, Mr. Engle, I'm an epitaph over an ash can! And now, sir, what's your story?
  • They'll deal you hope off the bottom.
  • Yesterday's pain is tomorrow's joke. And you'll always end up laughing if you can manage not to cut your throat first.

Other

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  • Stage Doorman: [looking out into the darkened, empty theater] Shhh! Hear that noise? That's the rats - always performing! If I left this scenery here, they'd eat it up - eat the whole theater up if it wasn't for the actors! The hollering frightens them.

Dialogue

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Gene Gibbons: Put your scissors away, Delilah, my hair's all cut. [looking at her male escort] Is this stylish fellow my successor?
Sylvia Marbe: Gene, you're drunk!
Gene Gibbons: Darling, you understate the case by three bottles and a thousand tears! [laughs] Avaunt!

Nina Barone: Where are you from?
Bill O'Brien: [laughs] I fell out of a policeman's whistle in Times Square.

Nina Barone: Please beat it! I'm no gun moll!
Bill O'Brien: You ain't no buzzard's dish either - not when I'm around!

Nina Barone: I'm a little better than you think, Mr. O'Brien.
Bill O'Brien: That wouldn't be hard.

Cast

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