In this light romantic comedy, 17-year old Loretta Young is cast as Ann Harper, a wealthy socialite who has inherited a fortune provided the family is involved in no scandals appearing in ... See full summary »
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William A. Seiter
In this light romantic comedy, 17-year old Loretta Young is cast as Ann Harper, a wealthy socialite who has inherited a fortune provided the family is involved in no scandals appearing in print, and her two aunts and uncle consent to the marriage. Put off by all this, she is determined to cause a scandal so that none of the family will receive any of the inheritance. An arrow-straight Fairbanks is volunteered to be the one to "compromise" her, but the two end up falling for each other. Upon being discovered in Loretta's boudoir, Fairbanks makes a hasty exit out of the nearest window. The romance seems destined to fail, but Fairbanks (and his two friends) have other ideas, which are accidentally "aided" by the two prudish aunts. Written by
... but overall it was a delightful little precode with Loretta Young seeming much more mature than her 17 years would have you expect. The film opens with a close up of Loretta's ankle swaying to the beat of the title song "Loose Ankles" her foot is wearing only an ankle bracelet as a man's hand caresses her leg and foot. The camera pans back and we see that the man is just a pedicurist surveying his work. That's the fun about precode. Nothing has to happen. By today's standards nothing really does. It's the possibilities and the implications.
The back story here is that Grandma Berry has just died and her already wealthy relatives are drooling for more on this, the day of the reading of her will. Ann Harper Berry (Loretta Young) turns out to be the recipient of the lion's share of the estate, but she must marry and also bring no scandal - as in nothing in the newspapers - to the Berry name in order to fully inherit. To incentivize the rest of the family, they cannot inherit their portion of the estate until Ann marries. Ann rebels against the entire set-up and puts out an ad for a "young unscrupulous man" to compromise her and cause a newspaper-worthy scandal so she and her greedy family will be barred from the inheritance. Gil Hayden (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) is the man who applies for the job at the cajoling of his male escort roommates who are trying to get him back into the workforce, and Ann is under constant watch by the rest of the family to make sure she causes no scandal. The scene in her bedroom as an inexperienced Ann tries to figure out the actual mechanics of creating a scandal with Gil with the help and advice of her obviously quite experienced maid is worth the price of admission.
This film runs 69 minutes and probably would have been better paced if it had been about 15 minutes shorter. It features a nightclub scene that drags on way too long with not much going on during a large portion of that time. Louise Fazenda is a hoot as one of Ann's aunts, but it is odd that Warner Brothers had her dressed up as a bit of a vixen the year before in "On With the Show" and here she is playing a woman in her 50's - she was only 35 at the time. It's obvious they have her wearing some kind of body suit to make her look much heavier and older than she is.
The dancing act in the nightclub - "The Circus Cafe" - is unique among nightclubs with lots of toe dancers and clowns doing acrobatics. It's not every day that you see circus themed entertainment in a Prohibition era speak easy, and quite frankly it was very reminiscent of the final scene in "Gold Diggers of Broadway".
If this one was a little faster paced I'd give it an eight, but as it is I give it an entertaining seven as it makes the excellent point that people are neither as wild or as tame as they might seem on the surface or as they imagine themselves to be.
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