Monday, August 18, 2003


Joan Crawford made two movies with this title; plotwise, they have nothing to do with each other--I reviewed the 1947 film in Spetember 2002. This one is an interesting pre-Code melodrama, written by Lenore Coffee, which centers on the idea of woman as economic commodity. Crawford is a factory worker who yearns for a better life. Nice guy Wallace Ford wants to marry her, but she's not ready to settle down so she heads for the big city. In record time, on a train to the city, she meets a rich man (Skeets Gallagher) whom she thinks will be her sugar daddy, but when she shows up at this apartment, he sends her away. Her disappointment is short lived, however, as rich lawyer Clark Gable (much younger and handsomer than Gallagher) is around to step in. For years, she is his mistress, kept in luxury, but he refuses to marry her for reasons involving a previous marriage (and divorce) and the potential for scandal when he decides to run for political office. Once he's in place to run for governor, his advisors suggest that he dump Crawford. As it happens, old flame Ford comes back into the picture around this time and misunderstandings and betrayals engulf all three, leaving Crawford to have to make a decision about doing the right thing (and what that right thing might be). The moral complexities here are nicely presented, in several shades of gray. Crawford wants things for herself, is ambitious, and doesn't mind getting ahead however she can, but old double standards get in her way. A well acted film with interesting social commentary that would not have been possible under the Hayes Code.

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