The first paragraph below is taken from other reviews about Rita Hayworth although the male stars playing against her are different here. Except they all have a similar feature; they all are smitten very smitten by Ms. Hayworth's charms. Join the line, boys:
"Okay, let me bring you up to speed on the obscure meaning of the headline. See, a while back I was smitten by a film star, an old time black and white film star from the 1940s, Rita Hayworth. The film that sent me into a tailspin: the black and white <em>noir</em> classic Gilda where she played a "good" femme fatale who gets in a jam with a no good monomaniacal crook. But that part is not important femme fatales, good or bad, get mixed up with wrong gees all the time. It's an occupational hazard. What is important though is that I got all swoony over lovely, alluring Rita. And as happens when I get my periodic "bugs" I had to go out and see what else she performed in. Of course Lady From Shang-hai came next. There she plays a "bad" blondish femme fatale (against a smitten Orson Welles). And then a couple of song and dance films partnered with Fred Astaire." And now this film under review, Angels Over Broadway. We are caught up.
After watching Ms. Hayworth going through her paces as a femme fatale and as a song and dance partner in other reviewed films it was somewhat surprising to see her play a "hayseed" (Brooklyn-born "hayseed", okay) trying to get her big break on Broadway, one way or another. Old Rita had been around but had not lost faith in humanity, or what passed for humanity in her circles. Now this Ben Hecht vehicle is very much in the old Damon Runyon Broadway gamblers, con men, criminals, drifters, grifters and midnight sifters tradition with a full compliment of failed characters, a drunken playwright (naturally, its Broadway) played here by Thomas Mitchell, a fast-talking wanna-be con man who knows all the angles, and all the angels (played by Douglas Fairbanks, Junior), the wanna-be gold digger with the heart of gold (Rita) and a suicidal embezzler.
Said embezzler and his problem are the focus of the film as the playwright makes one last bid at humanity and attempts to come out of the alcoholic haze by helping the embezzler make restitution, the con man makes his big bid to play with the real hard guys (and to play, fitfully, with Rita) setting up the embezzler for a fall, and the failed gold-digger (Rita) gets "religion" and tries to bring that wisdom to Mr. Con Man. Needless to say this plot is thin, thin if you have been immersed in the serious Broadway shenanigans of one Damon Runyon, and the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired.
I would put it this way for those of you who, like me, sometimes go off the deep end and need to see or read everything about something or some one that has stuck your fancy lately. Take this as case study in artistic development; as a first, halting, unsuccessful step by Rita in femme fatale-ism. That makes Gilda just that much better. Still even here Rita has her charms.