Thursday, December 27, 2012


Jerry, a wounded WWI soldier and rich playboy, sneaks away from his hospital boat while it's docked in New York City to rendezvous with his fiancĂ©e Anne, but finds out that she's dumped him for someone else. Later (could be days, weeks or months, it's unclear) at a party he's throwing at his Manhattan mansion, he hires Dot, a "party girl," to be his companion for the evening. When they run into Anne, she says that Dot is pretty "in a shoddy way," and the drunken Jerry tells her that he's going to marry Dot. That night, he does; the next morning he tries to pay her off to get a divorce but she says no. Jerry heads off to his Arizona ranch; when Dot finds him, he tells her he only has six months to live. What follows is a see-sawing game of "I want you/I don’t want you" between the two which is finally resolved in a courtroom. 

John Gilbert's talkies have gotten a bad rap, and like many early 30s movies, they haven’t all aged particularly well, but Gilbert himself is just fine here. The script doesn't give the characters much motivation for the silly hoops they have to jump through, and if this had been made a few years later, it might have been turned into an amusing screwball comedy like BRINGING UP BABY or THE PALM BEACH STORY. Gilbert makes for a sympathetic cad; Lois Moran is fine as the confused Dot whose past is unclear—she admits to being a bit of a gold digger, but takes umbrage at hints that she's "easy"; El Brendal gets the thankless comic relief role of Gilbert's Swedish sidekick; Ralph Bellamy is a ranch hand who falls for Dot. The oddest scene involves Brendal and Asian ranch cook Willie Fung trying to communicate with each other through belly-rubbing—get a room, guys! The acting and look of the film are A-level, but the script and direction are strictly from B-movie talent. And speaking of B-movies, the handsome Kane Richmond, later known for his roles in adventure serials, has a small role here. [TCM]

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