Hester is bored with Gerald who loves her - bored with the Finley Department store - and bored with Demopolis. She leaves town with a traveling salesman named Bloom and the clothes on her ... See full summary »
Hester is bored with Gerald who loves her - bored with the Finley Department store - and bored with Demopolis. She leaves town with a traveling salesman named Bloom and the clothes on her back. They go to New York where she moves up to mistress of Mr. Wheeler and is well cared for. When the gang decides to vacation at Lake Placid, Hester is dropped off at Demopolis to see how the old town looks after four years. She sees Gerald and he thinks she is a successful career woman and he still wants to marry her. But it will never happen so Gerald joins the Army to fight in the Great War. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In September 1928, Warner Bros. Pictures purchased a majority interest in First National Pictures and from that point on, all "First National" productions were actually made under Warner Bros. control, even though the two companies continued to retain separate identities until the mid-1930's, after which time "A Warner Bros.-First National Picture" was often used. See more »
Although ostensibly taking place in the 1914-1918 period, all of the women's hairstyles and fashions are from the 1930s, and the featured automobiles are also of a late-1920s vintage. See more »
Strange little films like this are an early talkie film buff's dream...
...but for the rest of you out there seeking pure entertainment I'd pass on this one. Every single star of the four I give it are for the chance to observe in one 50 minute film almost everything that went wrong with early talking pictures - that is, when things did go wrong. You can't learn this stuff by watching "Singin in the Rain" folks.
The film opens in an interesting fashion with Ms. Griffith singing a nifty little ballad entitled "They'll Never Believe Me" wearing a dress and head gear with so many bows she looks like a Christmas present, but it's downhill from there. The story is that of your basic fallen woman (Corinne Griffith as Hester Bevins) and how she fell and why she chooses to remain fallen and if and why she is ever redeemed. Hester is a clerk in a small town department store in Demopolis, Virginia who is loved by Gerald (Grant Withers), the department store bookkeeper. She is apparently subject to ridicule by the other members of the town and she lives on the wrong side of the tracks - literally. She goes home to her aunt's boarding house one day, sees her aunt in her dingy kimono entertaining some man whom she calls "The Boss" - who this guy is exactly is one of many things never explained - looks at the kitchen full of dirty dishes and walls splattered with food and sees her future, and she does not like the view. She high-tails it out of town with nothing but her hat and the clothes on her back accompanied by a splashy traveling salesman who takes her to New York. She immediately trades up from the salesman to being the mistress of wealthy Charles Wheeler (Montagu Love), and from there I'll let you watch and see what happens.
Everyone reviewing here is very hard on Ms. Griffith, but to be honest every single player in this production is acting like they are reciting lines from a high school play. Everyone, that is, with the exception of Louise Beavers who is the only performer in the film who acts like they have a pulse and an idea of who their character is supposed to be. Then there is Grant Withers who I actually liked in a couple of the early WB precodes with his snappy delivery, but here he is saddled with a ridiculous blonde wig and gee whiz dialogue that makes him seem like a twelve year old in a grown man's body.
As for the art design, forget about it. The movie opens in the year 1913 or 1914 - not exactly sure which - yet everybody is dressed like it is 1930 through the whole film, including the women wearing dresses that partially show their knees which would have gotten you arrested at the time. When the film opens everyone is driving horse drawn carriages, but by four years later - 1917 - when Hester revisits her hometown of Demopolis with her New York gang, they are driving Model A's, which weren't' even produced until 1927. And yes, I freeze-framed the film and looked it up.
The title cards would have you believe Hester is living a most debauched life with hammy sentences like "while some lay down their lives others laid down their honor" but other than her being the mistress of a rich man and partaking of some light Prohibition era drinking, I can't see anything wild going on here. Believe me, the so called "party scenes" would put that master of cinematic orgies, Cecil B. DeMille, fast to sleep.
I'd like to lay this entire mess at the feet of the director, but, alas, there is no director to blame! There is no director listed in the credits of the film and this database has William Seiter listed as only the uncredited director. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want my name associated with this either.
If you like film history, then you know that there is no such thing as bad film history, and I advise you watch this film for all the reasons I've given. I'd certainly like to know what Jack Warner thought when he saw it.
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