Saturday, May 27, 2006


This is only the second film I've seen that co-stars Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor (DELICIOUS, from two years earlier being the other). They were a very popular movie team in the early sound era, but I cannot fathom what their appeal was. They're both moderately attractive, but they're both also rather wooden. By the mid-30's, Farrell was getting a bit long in the tooth to be playing a callow youth (he was 33 here, and looks 33 although he's playing a college graduate at the start of the film) and their appeal to audiences may have been wearing thin as this was their last movie together. The plot focuses on four friends just out of college (Farrell, Gaynor, Ginger Rogers, and James Dunn) who head off to New York City to find their dreams. The city kicks their asses at first, though they slowly find their career paths, and as they do, their romantic paths criss-cross--Farrell thinks he loves the saucy Rogers; she loves Dunn, sort of, but will take Farrell whom Gaynor pines after. Rogers leaves the band of friends to go gold digging among the Fifth Avenue playboys, driving Farrell to poverty and illness, but Gaynor sticks by him and nurses him back to health. The two agree that they're in love and plan to wed, but Rogers soon returns to threaten their future happiness. There is virtually no suspense regarding who will wind up with whom, and the only real pleasures to be had waiting for the inevitable ending are in the supporting performances, not just of Rogers and Dunn, but also of Beryl Mercer as the head of a salvage store where Gaynor finds employment while wating for a job in journalism, and Gustav von Seyffertitz, playing against type as a nice guy doctor. Watch closely for Jane Darwell, Mischa Auer, and Shirley Temple (who, unless I missed something, has no dialogue and only appears on screen for a moment). [FMC]

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