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At a big party, Roger Fallon, now a woman-hater, right to the core - this all due to a failed marriage and disastrous love affairs - talks to Herbert Drake. Herbert who is happily married, bets Fallon that the next woman who walks into the room, whoever she is, won't let Fallon kiss her for 48 hours. Fallon takes the bet. Suddenly, a very beautiful and sexy woman walks in. It's Herbert's wife, Jeanne Drake... Written by
One thing I will never understand is how Jeanette MacDonald could be loaned out from Paramount to Fox for a NON-musical picture. This is the only film in which Jeanette sings not a note. Though in one scene she does go to the piano and play a few notes, but then just breaks into conversation with Edmund Lowe. What a tease that must have been for the audience in 1931.
Don't Bet On Women is based on a flop Broadway play by William Anthony McGuire that only ran for 31 performances back in 1919. It was produced by Harry Frazee and it was one of those flop shows that prompted that Red Sox fire sale to the New York Yankees of many of their stars, including most importantly Babe Ruth. If this show had been a hit the whole course of baseball history might have been changed.
Harry Frazee died in 1929 and I'll bet his estate sold the film rights to William Fox just to provide for the widow and children. I'll bet Fox paid nickels on the dollar for this story.
So both as Jeanette's only non-musical film and as something that caused baseball history to be made, this film/play has its own unique place in trivial history. So goes it for Don't Bet On Women aka A Good Bad Woman it's original title on Broadway.
Edmund Lowe is a dapper playboy who has a cynical attitude towards women after being taken to the cleaners by one. He's also not too crazy about his banker Roland Young who holds the purse strings on his trust fund. Young is married to Jeanette whom of course he takes for granted. In fact the funniest line in the film for me was Young declaiming how he doesn't think excitement is good for a woman.
Well with that kind of attitude no wonder Jeanette starts looking on Lowe. Especially after Lowe makes a bet with Young that he can get any woman to kiss him within 24 hours and wouldn't you know it, Jeanette comes on a veranda and becomes the bet object.
That gambit's been used so many times, from Guys and Dolls to Saved By The Bell on one of their episodes. If you care to see what happens by all means watch the film.
I can't get over the disappointment of Jeanette MacDonald not singing even though I knew that before seeing the film. Don't Bet On Women is an all right comedy, nothing terribly special about it. The second leads Una Merkel and J.M. Kerrigan are fun, Merkel also has some devastating lines as an empty headed southern belle.
I'm not sure Jeanette's fans will appreciate a non-singing role for her.
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