Singers Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the disapproving father of Lorelei's fiancé to keep an eye on her, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.
Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
'Cradle Snatchers' was a 1925 Broadway farce that came back from the dead in 1941 as the Broadway musical 'Let's Face It', with the three Jazz Age gigolo college boys reworked as army draftees to keep up with the times. Very few things about 'Let's Face It' are noteworthy, although it starred Danny Kaye and it had a score by Cole Porter (not among his best). One of Porter's lyrics for this show (in the song 'Farming') used the word 'gay' in a context that was unambiguously sexual. Apparently there was some legal problem with the story rights, because 'Let's Face It' was eventually filmed (starring Bob Hope) with a plot line entirely different from both the Cole Porter show and 'Cradle Snatchers'. Interestingly, Eve Arden was in the casts of both the Broadway 'Let's Face It' and the film, but playing two entirely different roles.
I viewed an incomplete and damaged print of 'Cradle Snatchers'. The three main characters are Susan Martin, Kitty Ladd and Ethel Drake, who would nowadays be counted among the 'ladies who lunch': they are society matrons of leisure, with prosperous husbands. Susan's husband goes out of town on a business trip, but she later learns that he lied to her and he actually went duck hunting. (The movie -- what I've seen of it, at least -- is slightly less suggestive than the original play, in which the husbands were cheating on their wives with some jazz-baby flappers.) Kitty's and Ethel's husbands have been equally dishonest with their wives.
To get revenge on their husbands, the three women -- all of them middle-aged -- hire three handsome college boys to squire them about town. It's all meant to be quite innocent, with the wives merely intending to embarrass their husbands and teach them a lesson. Part of the problem here -- again, I've only seen an incomplete version of this film -- is that the movie seems to be flaunting its naughtiness but it isn't really all that naughty, even by 1920s standards.
I had no end of trouble following the action of this movie, partly down to the physical deterioration of the nitrate print, but largely because of the extreme use of 1920s American slang in the intertitles. The three college boys are identified as 'cake-eaters'. I knew this was a slang term (no actual cake is eaten in the scenes I witnessed), but it took me a while to twig that 'cake-eaters' are lounge lizards. Arthur Lake is mildly funny as one of the male trio. Louise Fazenda manages to be attractive as Mrs Martin, even though the role calls attention to the fact that she's significantly older than her cake-eater escort. I shan't rate this film, as I wasn't able to view it in its entirety. But based on what I've seen here, I doubt that 'Cradle Snatchers' was very funny even in its own time.
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