Lawrence O'Toole
August 09, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tales of Manhattan

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth
genre
Comedy

We gave it an B-

The best reason to see Julien Duvivier’s hit-and-miss five-part collection of narratives — tied together by the good and ill fortune a topcoat brings its various owners — is the few minutes of footage added for the Tales of Manhattan‘s first video release. A hilarious sequence with a ripe W.C. Fields delivering a temperance speech and getting all the highbrows in attendance soused on spiked coconut milk never made it to the original. But it’s a gem, as is the story of Edward G. Robinson as a once successful lawyer, now a Bowery bum, who through happenstance finds himself attending a posh class reunion. Otherwise, the segments seem contrived, arch, and dated. And the final one, with Ethel Waters, Paul Robeson, a gospel choir, and a lot of eye rolling, now feels downright racist. B-

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