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Diana is outwardly the hit of the party but inwardly virtuous and idealistic. Her friend Ann is thoroughly selfish and amoral. Both are attracted to Ben Black, soon-to-be millionaire. He takes Diana's flirtations with other boys as a sign of disinterest in him and marries Ann. Big mistake. Ben and Diana begin to realize their true love for each other and plan a new life together as drunken Ann falls down the stairs to her death. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
This film was the first in a trilogy - Our Dancing Daughters/Our Modern Maidens (1929)/Our Blushing Brides (1930). The first two were silent with Vitaphone sound effects, the last was a talkie. Joan Crawford had gotten good reviews and got noticed in her earlier MGM roles from 1925 to 1928, giving good performances even in some of the dog pictures MGM starred her in. This film is what made her a star. She literally steps into the role of Diana and makes it her own. From the first scene she IS this energetic and honest flapper.
This movie could just as well be accurately retitled as "The Stupidity of Men, The Suffering of Women". The story centers around three flappers - Beatrice (Dorothy Sebastian), Ann (Anita Page), and Diana (Joan Crawford). Bea is in love with Norman (Nils Asther), but she has a past with other men that she tells Norman about when he proposes. He says it doesn't matter, but then after their marriage Norman insists that the couple live in virtual isolation as Norman is so sure that one of the men in Bea's past is part of "their crowd" and is laughing at him. Diana meets the wealthy and handsome Ben Blaine (Johnny Mack Brown) at a party and they hit it off and fall in love. However, Ben has second thoughts about marrying Diana because she is so upfront about her love of the nightlife. It gets Ben's wheels turning, wondering if Diana admits to A - her love of the nightlife, she has to be guilty of A + B, with B being, of course, wild sexual values. All of this waffling has Ben turning to Ann, a girl whose mother has taught her a maxim to live by - "A rich man wants his money's worth - beauty and purity". Ann is a master saleswoman and sells Ben on her having both virtues, and thus he picks her as a bride. This is a decision that breaks Diana's heart and that Ben comes to regret, because Ann has her own maxim about how to behave once she's married - "Once I'm married, boy am I going to have a fling". That she does.
Joan Crawford takes center stage here of course, but I couldn't help be captivated by Anita Page's performance too. At the time this film was made, Page had just turned eighteen, yet she seems to grasp all the hypocrisy and sophistication her role demands. Crawford's career was rightfully long. In contrast, Page's career was woefully cut short by MGM studio politics. A highly recommended film from the late silent era.
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