Rose of Washington Square

Rose of Washington Square is a 1939 American musical drama film, featuring the already well-known popular song with the same title. Set in 1920s New York City, the film focuses on singer Rose Sargent and her turbulent relationship with con artist Barton DeWitt Clinton, whose criminal activities threaten her professional success in the Ziegfeld Follies.

Rose of Washington Square
Directed byGregory Ratoff
Produced byNunnally Johnson
Darryl F. Zanuck
Written byJerry Horwin (story)
Nunnally Johnson
StarringTyrone Power
Alice Faye
Al Jolson
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
May 5, 1939 (1939-05-05)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

Although the names of the principal characters were changed, the plot was obviously inspired by vaudeville entertainer Fanny Brice's career and marriage to gambler Nicky Arnstein (both the film's title song and "My Man" were closely associated with Brice), and Brice sued 20th Century Fox for $750,000. The studio settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Written by Nunnally Johnson (who co-produced with Darryl F. Zanuck) and directed by Gregory Ratoff, it stars Alice Faye, Tyrone Power and Al Jolson, with a supporting cast that includes William Frawley, Joyce Compton, Hobart Cavanaugh, Moroni Olsen, Charles Lane, and Louis Prima.


Ted Cotter (Al Jolson), a successful Broadway minstrel performer, spots Rose Sargent (Alice Faye) performing in a vaudeville amateur night. He immediately takes a personal and professional interest in her, helping her career along as she joins the famed Ziegfeld Follies and begins to achieve stardom.

Rose does not recognize Ted's love for her, falling instead for Bart Clinton (Tyrone Power), a gambler and con man. Bart's nefarious activities get him arrested, and after Ted puts up his bail, Bart skips town. Rose pines away for him, until one night, when Bart goes to the Follies and hears her tearful rendition of the song "My Man", he realizes the error of his ways and sets out to make things right. As Bart is sent away for a 5-year prison sentence, Rose says "I'll be waiting, darling!"[1]




  1. Three songs - two performed by Alice Faye ("I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" and "I'll See You in My Dreams") and Al Jolson ("April Showers"/"Avalon") were cut from the final film. However, all three songs survive as filmed and are included on both the audio CD[3] and DVD[6] as "extras".


  1. Rose of Washington Square (1939) online streaming video at
  2. Great Movie Musicals on DVD - A Classic Movie Fan's Guide by John Howard Reid - Google search with book preview
  3. Rose of Washington Square song list from
  4. Rose of Washington Square (1939) soundtrack listing at IMDb
  5. Rose of Washington Square (1939) - audio soundtrack on YouTube
  6. Rose of Washington Square (1939) on IMDb - Trivia
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