Cafe entertainer Ivy Stevens falls for sleazy salesman Howard Palmer and jumps from a bridge when he dumps her. Saved by Salvation Army officer Carl, Ivy reforms and joins the Army. When she runs into Palmer she falls for him all over again. Carl beats up Palmer and gives a speech to Ivy which induces her to return to the Army and to Carl. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Boring, predictable and at times laughable melodrama from MGM features Joan Crawford playing Ivy, a naive girl who has her heart broken by a scumbag (Neil Hamilton) so she decides to kill herself. A Salvation Army preacher (Clark Gable) saves her from doing so and try to get her back on track but soon the old boyfriend shows up. LAUGHING SINNERS is such a bad film that it could only be saved by two screen legends who are both horribly miscast. It's strange that the performances would be what saves this film because the truth is that the performances really aren't that good. I think this film will mainly appeal to die-hard fans of Crawford and Gable who want to see what the two do in a lousy movie where both of them are playing roles that simply aren't suited for them. I've give them both credit for at least trying to pull the parts off but in the end they just don't work. I think one of the main problems is that both are so strong that it's hard to see them playing such soft characters. Crawford is somewhat charming playing the naive girl at the start of things but where she really heats up is towards the end when she's faced with a dilemma. The same can be said for Gable who just isn't believable as the soft-spoken preacher but he too picks up at the end when the muscles come out. Hamilton is rather forgettable in the role of the boyfriend and even Guy Kibbee is wasted in his supporting role. The screenplay is a real mess because it takes 25-minutes for the break-up to actually happen and then we have to sit through more melodrama and I'm sure you know how it's all going to end. Another problem is that the direction by Harry Beaumont is just so lifeless that everything drags. LAUGHING SINNERS is a pretty embarrassing movie but I still think fans of Crawford and Gable will remain mildly entertained just by seeing the two in roles that don't make them look too good.
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