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Ladies of Leisure (1930)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 5 April 1930 (USA)
An upper-crust artist hires a 'party girl' as a model; romance follows.


(as Frank R. Capra)


(adapted from stage play), (adapted from stage play) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Jerry Strong
Bill Standish
Dot Lamar
Mrs. Strong
John Strong
Claire Collins


Jerry Strong is the son of a rich businessman, but wants to be a painter. He hires Kay Arnold, a good girl with a bad past, as a model. They fall in love, and plan to get married. But Jerry's parents raise strong objections. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | Romance






Release Date:

5 April 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ladies of the Evening  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Frank Capra's autobiographical book, he dismissed using Barbara Stanwyck when their interview went badly. Frank Fay, Stanwyck's husband at the time, called Capra up, furious over Stanwyck's having come home from the interview, crying. Capra blamed Stanwyck, saying she acted like she didn't even want the part. Fay responded, "Frank, she's young, and shy, and she's been kicked around out here. Let me show you a test she made at Warner's." (The test was for "The Noose," a Broadway play Stanwyck starred in and also a film made without Stanwyck in 1928 by John Francis Dillon for First National.) Capra was so impressed that he left the screening immediately to get Harry Cohn, who ran Columbia, to sign up Stanwyck as quickly as possible. See more »


Although the onscreen credits state "Adapted from A David Belasco-Milton Herbert Gropper stage play," only Gropper was the author of the play; Belasco produced it. See more »


Jerry Strong: It's like a man I knew once. He was suspicious. Bitter, hard, cruel. All those things were written in his face, like a map of his life. He died. I saw him laid out. His face was a new face. It was fine, noble. There was peace in it. He was himself again. Do you see what I mean?
Kay Arnold: No. All I get out of it is, you got to die to find yourself. Not me. Not for two dollars an hour.
See more »


Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »


Misterioso Agitato
Music by Harold Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

Good early Barbara Stanwyck tear-jerker directed by Capra...
18 May 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Considering that movies only began to talk in 1928, this early sound film starring BARBARA STANWYCK as a girl of ill repute (she calls herself a party girl), and RALPH GRAVES as an artist who wants to use her as a model, is not bad at all. It's certainly one of the better jobs in sound recording for a film made in the early '30s. As usual with films of this period, there is almost no music on the soundtrack except for the moment when "The End" is flashed on the screen. In the TCM print I watched, the screen then fades to black while some "exit" music is played against a dark screen.

Stanwyck is the prostitute with a heart of gold who finds a good man and doesn't want to let him go, even when his family objects to their union when he proposes marriage. She is convinced by the mother to give him up--but circumstances change after she makes a rash decision.

Stanwyck is excellent at conveying the brassy qualities of the character, but then reveals the softer nature of the girl as she falls in love with the man who only wants to paint her portrait. The tenderness of the romance that develops is full of nuances that one wouldn't expect from a Frank Capra film. The sentimental ending is more in keeping with his usual style.

RALPH GRAVES gives a quiet, assured performance as the man who finds that he does really love Stanwyck. LOWELL SHERMAN does his usual schtick as an inebriated friend who flounces around making wisecracks. MARIE PREVOST has some good moments as Stanwyck's roommate and NANCE O'NEIL does a good job as Grave's well-meaning mother.

Stanwyck fans will appreciate her well modulated performance.

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