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William A. Wellman
George K. Arthur,
Young vivacious Billie uses her charms on influential businessman Glenn Abbott in hopes of getting her secret fiancée Gil a diplomatic appointment. Meanwhile Gil's affections meander to beautiful ingenue Kentucky, Billie's best friend. After securing Gil's appointment, Abbott is crushed to learn of Billie's impending marriage. What Billie didn't count on was Gil getting Kentucky pregnant. This throws her wedding day into scandal and creates turmoil in the lives of the youthful quartet. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Well on the way to being the ultimate expression of the Jazz Age.
Well, at least there's a decent copy of this late silent, which show cases Joan Crawford at her peak - even if it does run too fast in order to accommodate the awful music track. The original audiences saw it this way but they were used to the problem and hadn't heard better film music.
OUR MODERN MAIDENS must be the only good film Jack Conway ever directed, possibly because the things that are enjoyable-preposterous in it seem to be a good fit with the idea we have of the so called "Jazz Age." The cast are just right - lively, sexy, authoritative star numbers with a distant connection to reality. It's a pity so little of La Roque's work is about. He's spot on in this and FIGHTING EAGLE. Doug jnr. does impressions, like Marion Davies or Gloria Swanson, and they are clever.
The Metro house style is pretty much the author of this one, as with the enormous, un-motivated track back to reveal Gibbons' auditorium size living room in magnate Gran's house, where Crawford does her skimpy Adrian outfit dance for the assembled jazz babies. We even get some zoom shots, done presumably with the old mechanical lens that was hardly ever used.
There's also MGM pre-code daring with the glimpse of the doctor card that refers to Stewart as "Mrs.", the clue, like Elizabeth Allen taking her Nurse's cap off in MEN IN WHITE or all the shock horror of Fairbanks' secret in WOMAN OF AFFAIRS (in the book it was V.D.). These films were made for grown ups - though possibly not the brightest grown ups.
This one still has the ability to catch our imagination. It's as close to living in the twenties as most of us will ever experience. I really enjoyed it.
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