Thursday, February 24, 2011


Average pre-Code gold-digger melodrama of three girls, only two of whom are really "wise" in any way, and their romantic adventures in the big city. Jean Harlow is a soda jerk in the small town of Chillicothe, Ohio (or so I assume since she works at the Chillicothe Drug Store) who lives with, and even sleeps in the same bed with, her mother; she gets the itch to go to New York City where her friend (Mae Clarke) is having a high old time as a fashion model and kept woman to a rich and unhappily married man whose wife won't give him a divorce. Soon Harlow has a roommate (Marie Prevost as the plain-looking comic-relief gal) and a job modeling with Clarke. She also quickly acquires a rich lover (Walter Byron) who, she is devastated to find out, is married to a wife who won't give him a divorce. By the end, Clarke's lover leaves her high and dry and suicidal, Harlow's lover finally gets a divorce--and follows her back to Chillicothe to make an honest woman out of her, and Prevost settles down with Byron's oafish chauffeur (Andy Devine). These moral lessons for innocent girls trying to make their way in the big city were apparently quite popular back in their day; in plot, acting, and production style, this is no different from any similar movie. Harlow hadn't quite hit her stride--though she would later that year in RED DUST with Clark Gable; here, she's attractive but not compelling, and her performance feels rather tentative. Clarke (the Baron's wife in the Karloff FRANKENSTEIN), though she has less sex appeal, upstages her, partly because she plays a slightly more interesting character. Prevost does the drab roomie bit well, Byron is stodgy and not especially attractive, and there just isn’t anything more to say about this film. [TCM]

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