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William A. Wellman
George K. Arthur,
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Robert Z. Leonard
Rod La Rocque,
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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>
Despite flaws in it projection, lovely young Joan Crawford and Anita Page in this silent jazz age melodrama is fun to watch.
This was one of those films caught during the transition to sound and issued in a silent and sound version. Unfortunately, MGM didn't make separate continuity versions - they simply added a soundtrack (music and sound effects) to the silent version. But the silent film could be run at the proper speed - anywhere from 16 to 22 frames a second at the discretion of the projectionist - whereas the sound version had to be shown at 24 frames a second, the fixed speed to have the sound come out right. So you see the action faster than you are supposed to, making some of it seem rushed, quite noticeable and often annoying.
The plot is your basic love quadrangle with Crawford in love with and getting secretly engaged to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., while Page is in love with him. It's secret so Crawford can play up to influential Rod La Rocque, who can get Fairbanks a diplomatic job. She cruelly lies to La Rocque, who falls in love with her, saying Fairbanks is a friend, only a boy. While Crawford is getting to La Rocque, Fairbanks and Page have an affair, which he regrets, finally telling her of his engagement. Page simply says she will never tell Crawford, her best friend. After La Rocque gets Fairbanks the job, the engagement is announced, enraging La Rocque to the point he almost rapes Crawford. I was really surprised when they were alone in his cabin and he grabs Crawford, that he yanks her hair back violently so he could kiss her passionately. He finally leaves in disgust, after telling her he stopped not because of decency, but because he didn't want her. Crawford marries Fairbanks, but all four are in for some big surprises.
The love scenes are punctuated with a lot of jazz age fun. We see Crawford doing a nice interpretive dance at a party, and Fairbanks imitate John Barrymore doing his facial changes made in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), and then imitate John Gilbert passionately kissing a woman. Those two are mentioned by name, but then someone yells "Do Robin Hood," an amusing "in" joke because it referred to his real life father, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in Robin Hood (1922). And he does it very well, leaping and posturing just as his father did, a reason why he was able to make some swashbuckling films himself later on.
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