Directors' Choice Award Winner
Hoods & Hoofers
by Robert Lindsey Nassif
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The action takes place during the course of one afternoon and evening at the Paradise nightclub –a sleazy speakeasy cabaret in New York City in 1927.
We meet Roy Lane, a young song and dance man, who supervises the chorus girls that perform in the club. Roy is secretly in love with one of them – Billie Moore, an innocent newcomer. Roy has been working up a duo act with Billie and is waiting for the chance to premier it at the club. However, Billie is being romanced by rich, handsome Steve Crandall, the leader of the gang that controls the club. Billie has no idea Steve is a mobster. She thinks he’s in real estate.
Then there’s Pearl, the newest girl in the chorus who asks too many questions and acts suspiciously. When she overhears that someone has murdered a rival gangster, Scar Casino, she tumbles down the spiral staircase in a faint.
A cop shows up – Dan McCorn – who’s investigating the murder of Scar. Dan interrogates Pearl and learns that she and Scar were engaged to be married and that Scar sent her to the club to spy on Steve’s gang. When Pearl learns it was Steve who killed her fiancé, she secretly vows revenge.
And there’s Porky and Lil – both middle-aged and comical. Porky drives the getaway car for Steve. Lil is the chanteuse of the club. Porky falls for Lil in a big but innocent way. And after a wild, drunken party, they get married. What Porky doesn’t realize is, Lil is a man – and a very talented female impersonator. Fortunately for Lil, she and Porky discover they weren’t officially married, and end up parting ways amicably – with Porky still unaware of Lil’s secret.
When Steve gets a bullet through his fedora, he realizes someone is out to kill him and assumes it’s a member of Scar’s gang. He decides to leave town that night. He intends to kidnap Billie after the show and force her to come with him, making her his love slave.
That night, Billie and Roy get the break they’ve waited for: they get to try out their new act at that evening’s show. While they perform in the club, Steve waits backstage, ready to abduct Billie. But Pearl is stalking him and, when the onstage music gets good and loud, she shoots Steve, stating that this is for Scar.
The cop, Dan McCorn, discovers Steve’s body and notices that Pearl is shaking. Dan knows Pearl is guilty, but he leaves without making an arrest. Street justice has been served.
Billie and Roy come backstage elated. An agent has seen their act and offered them a gig in Pottsville. Billie realizes Roy is the guy for her. They kiss and rush off excitedly, unaware of Steve’s bloody body lying nearby.
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