The Life of the Party (1930)

Passed  |   |  Comedy  |  25 October 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 118 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Two attractive female song-pluggers decide to become gold-diggers, with comic results.



(by) (as Melville Crossman) , (dialogue)
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Complete credited cast:
Winnie Lightner ...
Irene Delroy ...
Jack Whiting ...
A.J. Smith
Charles Butterworth ...
Colonel Joy
Charles Judels ...
Mons. LeMaire
John Davidson ...
Mr. Smith
Arthur Hoyt ...


Broadway song-pluggers Flo and Dot, besieged with admirers, are fired; disgusted with men, they decide to become gold-diggers. After a first success in "taking" fashion retailer LeMaire, they try the millionaires' playground of Havana, where mistaken identities bring their schemes to comic confusion. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


IT'S A KICK IN THE SHINS! You'll laugh till you cry At this glorious riot of fun! See more »




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 October 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charivari  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



(TV prints)| (2-Strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the initial scene as Flo (Winnie Lightner) sells sheet music, she begins to shout out the titles of the songs. The first one is "Singin' in the Bathtub" which Lightner introduced in "The Show of Shows," followed by songs from "The Gold Diggers of Broadway" in which she also appeared. See more »


References Courage (1930) See more »


One Robin Doesn't Make a Spring
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Earle Crooker
Cut from the final print, but possibly played as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

You could tell Winnie Lightner just loved to entertain...
16 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

... because she really steals the show in one of those early talkies that is not the least bit claustrophobic - there is plenty of movement, large sets, etc. This is a precode in which nothing really happens but plenty is implied, and it's fascinating to watch just from the film history angle plus it's a real hoot. The opening frame is Broadway as it appeared in 1930, and Jack Warner just has to plug everything Warner Brothers is doing in those first few frames. The neon signs advertise movies you've probably never heard of such as "Fifty Million Frenchmen", "The Song of the Flame", and "Courage". All three were made by Warner Brothers in 1930 and two of the three are as lost as the Technicolor version of this film. Next we meet song pluggers Flo (Winnie Lightner) and Dot (Irene Delroy). They are selling sheet music just a short time before the mass production of records would make their profession obsolete. Dot gets fired because she is too good looking - men are stopping to flirt not buy sheet music. Flo quits because they are a package deal.

Flo wants Dot to cash in on her good looks, but Dot loves Bob, a struggling clerk on Wall Street. Everything changes when Flo finds an item in the newspaper about Bob, age 23, marrying a wealthy widow aged 55. From this point forward Dot is willing to do things Flo's way and go for the gold in a man, right down to the fillings in his teeth. The two get a job in a high fashion shop owned by a guy who has a thing for Dot, take him for half the store in expensive dresses, and head off to Havana to look for a rich guy for Dot. Now it's never explained why they have to leave the country to look for a rich guy, nor how they got the money to get to Havana in the first place, but that's beside the point.

The rest of the film is a mad cap comedy of errors in which Flo mistakes a fellow fortune hunter for a recently rich inventor of a new soft drink, Dot has her moneyed mission somewhat derailed by her attraction to a good looking fellow who is staying at the same Havana hotel, and Charles Butterworth keeps showing up at inopportune times to interject some one-liners. Oh, and the guy who owned the fashion shop who Flo and Dot took for a ride in New York? He shows up at an inopportune time too.

Winnie Lightner is loud and busy - kind of like a flapper version of Glenda Farrell with a good singing voice, and that was her downfall. I think she could have transitioned easily to Warner's later fast-talking comedies, but she was too associated with the early musicals that became very unpopular by 1931 and also with the roaring 20's pre-Depression era to continue to go over big. Recommended for those who enjoy watching Warner Brothers and early talking pictures go through their growing pains and for those who like being transported back to a simpler time, when a woman with some meat on her bones was considered attractive and when a man would dress up in a tuxedo just based on the possibility that he might get lucky.

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