Wednesday, December 20, 2006


A fluffy pre-Code comedy about a wallflower who blossoms when men think that she has a "dangerous" past. Constance Bennett is a rich girl who is known as a drab bore. Indeed, though she is not unattractive, and upper-crust young men do occasionally approach her at parties, her posture is awkward and she gets nervous and starts talking about books, and the men wind up walking away while she begins mumbling to herself. One night at a party, Bennett is especially frustrated because the woman getting everyone's attention is a suspected murderess (Merna Kennedy). The hostess, Astrid Allwyn, asks her friend, David Manners, to spend some time with Bennett, but he remains more fascinated with Kennedy until Allwyn convinces him that Bennett has an equally mysterious past. At the end of the evening, drunk and rebuffed by Kennedy, Manners proposes to Bennett and asks her to sail with him to Europe. The next morning, however, he's patched things up with the murderess so Bennett sails alone. In Paris, she meets up with penniless charmer Ben Lyon and hires him as a "kind of gigolo" to take her around the town and show her how to become a fascinating woman. Naturally, in no time flat, Bennett is a hot commodity, sought after by many, including a count (Albert Conti) who commits suicide when she spurns him. She soon meets up with Manners who is quite taken with her new persona, but who can't get a moment alone with her. Though the plotline is predictable, I admit I wasn't sure whether she would wind up with Lyon or Manners, and I was a bit surprised at the outcome. There is a somewhat startling scene of physical danger that winds up being a dream--an early example perhaps of a comic dream sequence. A fairly enjoyable film with good performances by all. [TCM]

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