Wednesday, April 17, 2002


A pre-Code melodrama, memorable mostly because it's one of the few movies that Tallulah Bankhead did. She plays a flighty rich girl who ignores the advice of her bankers and loses her fortune during the Depression. Robert Montgomery, her middle-class fiance, had wanted her to give up her money and live on his, but he too loses his money. For a time, she becomes a kept woman and continues to live the life she's accustomed to. Soon, they meet up, both flat broke, and get married. He gets sick and she takes to the streets to pay his medical bills. After everyone's suffered quite enough, with Montgomery's brother butting in to tattle on Bankhead, there is an abrupt and unrealistic happy ending.

Bankhead comes off a bit like Bette Davis--husky voice, big eyes, similar screen presence--which is ironic given that Davis was accused of stealing from Bankhead's stage performance in THE LITTLE FOXES when she did the movie. This is turgid stuff, saved by a couple of memorable scenes. When Bankhead is told by a man that he is a metallurgist, she asks, "What kinds of metals do you urge?" There's also a bizarre scene where a cop, threatening to arrest her for soliciting, makes her vow to give up her sinful ways, pulls out a small crucifix and demands, "Kiss the cross!" This is mostly humorless and slow going, with only a handful of short scenes toward the beginning giving any sense at all of Bankhead's potential for humor.

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