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Coquettish socialite Kay Elliott has set her cap for Alan Ward, an associate in her father's law firm. But while pursuing Alan, she must fend off the advances of a greedy fortune-hunter, who is aided and abetted by his equally voracious sister. Written by
Dan Navarro <email@example.com>
Miss Kay Elliott / requests the honor of your presence / at an informal party given / in Honor of her Annual Expulsion / from Miss Baynor's Select School / for Young Ladies // Embassy Roof / Saturday May third / ten P. M. until?---
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"The Naughty Flirt" is a delightful period piece that evokes the (relatively) care-free life many of the very rich maintained even in aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash.
Alice White plays the spoiled socialite Miss Katherine 'Kay' Elliott and does a very charming comic turn. This is a Pre-Code film in which the figures of all the female beauties are provocatively shown off in revealing attire in the party scenes. While the sex - including a somewhat surprising spanking scene - is played up, the prohibition age drinking is can only be suggested.
The film starts with a gay gang of young socialites in the back of a Police Paddy Wagon headed to the police station to be booked on creating a public nuisance. It seems pretty obvious they've all been drinking as well as dancing at a riotous rooftop party.
White as Kay is quite the unflappable flapper, a Daddy's girl with an income of $100,000 a year. Imagine what that could buy in 1931! She's been kicked out of every fine private school her father could get her into and is the dedicated decadent until her world is turned around by a straight-laced country-boy-turned lawyer who happens to work for her Dad's firm.
It's a classic case of opposites attract - with a dash of Taming of the Shrew. The two are instantly drawn to each other starting when the lawyer, Alan Ward (Paul Page), - studiously attending a session of night court at the police station - first lays eyes on the naughty platinum blonde.
Their romance is tested by a scheme masterminded by Linda Gregory (Myrna Loy) and her brother Jack (Douglas Gilmore) who wants to marry her for money. These dark characters hope to recover from the loss of their fortune in the stock market crash.
There are also trust issues as regular guy Alan attempts to gage the loyalty of this 'belle of the ball' while taking stock of her seemingly countless admirers.
I saw this on TCM which has a very high technical standard. I'm always impressed at how quickly sound movies progressed. Just four years into the sound era, there's a scene with a wax cylinder Dictaphone in which we listen in as White puts on headphones and hears the recording of Alan speaking for dictation and then get sidetracked into another far more personal conversation with a friend drops into his office unexpectedly. The sound is played back in the scratchy Dictaphone mode
differentiating it from the regular sound.
This is a fun and funny story, providing a glimpse into a fascinating age (especially if you were rich) where Jazz Age attitudes intersected with an elite American Anglophile culture.
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