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Minor but amusing comedy starring that little kewpie doll, Alice White.
For a few years in the late 20s and early 30s White was a big name and starred in a series of comedies and musicals.
In THE NAUGHTY FLIRT she plays a spoiled rich girl who travels in a fast set of country club kids. She runs across a staid lawyer in night court when the "gang" has been hauled in for disturbing the peace at a local dive. He works in her father's law firm.
Because he ignores her she floods him with invitations and finally lures him to a party where he continues to ignore her and pay attention to her rival, Myrna Loy. Of course this drive the little flirt crazy. The "Cinderella Dance" is interesting to say the least.
Myrna and her brother are almost broke (it's 1931) and they have a scheme for him to marry White with her $100,000/year income. So there are some more complications before the final clinch.
Alice White was the Goldie Hawn of her day, a delightful actress who could sing a little and dance a little. She was a rival to Clara Bow and was probably the last of the flappers. She's very good in this comedy. Myrna Loy has fun as the bitchy rival who schemes for money. Paul Page (looking like Fredric March) plays the lawyer. Robert Agnew is Wilbur, George Irving is the father, Douglas Gilmore is Jack, Fred Kelsey is the cop, and Lloyd Ingraham is the judge.
I just wanted to see this film because of Myrna Loy. I love Myrna Loy. But Myrna doesn't have much to do in this film. Most of the spotlight is on little, vivacious, cute Alice White. I became a fan of her. She's the ultimate flapper. She reminds you of a Clara Bow or Toby Wing. She's very natural- even though many say she didn't like talkies and feel uncomfortable. She didn't seem like it. This is a pre-code picture about a flirtatious woman which is played by Alice White who makes bet too see which guys she can hook, line, and sinker. But with one of the guys she ends up falling in love. Myrna Loy in this picture is coming into her own trademark acting in this film. Her aloof, snotty, sophisticated comedy/acting would be noticed and loved not along after this picture. If you can find it, you'll treasure it.
"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.
While not a particularly good film, "The Naughty Flirt" does have some enjoyable moments. Traces of director Cline's comedy short background can be found in several scenes--most of the comedy being visual. Myrna Loy is good as the scheming one, with her best movie years still ahead. Alice White does well in a role more suited to her talents. The studio tried to turn her into this big song and dance star with the advent of talkies but she was much more comfortable in comic roles, as she displays in this movie and later ones. This was her last First-National film and by this time nobody cared. She did make a reasonably successful comeback a few years later, in comedy roles, which she should have been given from the start. The supporting players also do well but the film, as a whole, does not. The cast tries hard but is overcome by weak material. Still, it's worth a peek.
.... that showcases her comedic skills and vibrant personality is eventually sunk by poor script and blah costar Paul Page (who resembles Fredric March). Miss White and Myrna Loy, however, are fun. White was saddled with lousy scripts in her brief starring career. She could have and should have been a rival to Clara Bow or Jean Harlow. She was terrific in Employees' Entrance but continued to slide anyway. Such is Hollywood. Catch her in Show Girl in Hollywood---she's good in that one too!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In this entertaining film, Alice White plays cute, perky, flirty,
well-to-do blonde Kay - throwing a party in honor of her annual
expulsion from finishing school, she dances, plays the ukulele, bats
her eyelashes, and gets thrown in the paddy wagon along with her circle
of wild chums. And that's just the start of this story!
While at court she meets handsome young lawyer Alan Ward (Paul Page), who by coincidence works for her daddy's law firm. She falls for him big-time, then pursues him like crazy - but no go from his side, though he seemed to like her from the get-go, I guess she's too much of a flirt for our serious young law man. But as one friend says of her "When Kay Elliott starts after a man - she never misses!". So - seducing him after she tries to snag him via the "Cinderella Dance" (girls throw in one shoe on the dance floor, guys pile on top of each other in attempt to find the shoe of their fave gal and get her for "dancing and dinner" later) it seems to be working. But man crazy Kay is currently engaged, by her own count, to "six or seven men"; Alan, tired of her flirtations, puts her over his knee and gives her a spanking (yeah, you read that right). She decides to change her ways and comes to work as his secretary. Okey-dokey. Meanwhile, Two chums, a brother and sister duo (the sister, quite well played by Myrna Loy), make plans to break up Kay and Alan for their own greed - to get Kay (and her $5,000,000) for the brother.
This is a lively romp of a film mostly good because of Alice White, who gives an engaging, fun-to-watch performance. She is more cute, with her spit curls, big eyes, and pouty mouth, than a good actress but her acting does run circles around that of her co-star, Paul Page, NOT much of an actor, I must say. I am a fan of Myrna Loy, but this film is *completely* stolen by Alice White. Quite enjoyable, light fun.
Alice White was an adorable flapper, whose career was over before it
started. She was First National's answer to Clara Bow but she didn't
have the longevity of the red headed "It" girl. 1931 started with "The
Naughty Flirt", one of her best films and ended with "Murder at
Midnight", in which, although billed prominently, she was only given
about two decent scenes.
The plot is 60 minutes of frivolous fun with White doing what she does best - being adorably flirty and making every man her slave. When Kay (Alice White) and her gang are hauled into night court for disorderly conduct, she meets Alan Ward (Paul Page) an associate with her father's law firm and it doesn't take him long to fall under her spell. She already has a persistent suitor in Jack Gregory (Douglas Gilmore) who is always asking Kay to marry him. He, along with his scheming sister, Linda (Myrna Loy) have ulterior motives - they have been wiped out in the stock market crash and hope that if Jack can marry Kay their financial worries will be at an end.
The "Cinderella Dance" is one of the film's highlights - all the girls take off one of their shoes, put it in the middle of the ballroom and then the boys have to pick one and dance with it's owner. White, who made her name with a couple of excellent musicals from the early talkie era ("Broadway Babies" (1929) and "Show Girl in Hollywood" (1930)) is not asked to sing or dance here which is a pity. She also gets a run for her money from Myrna Loy as the sultry Linda. Why it took so long for Loy to "make it" (1933's "Animal Kingdom" was her big break) is one of Hollywood's real mysteries. However White's cutie pie acting wins through - she is impossible to resist.
Although she had a very hectic private life, maybe what happened to Alice White were films like "The Naughty Flirt". 1931 was one of the worst years of the depression and with a title like "The Naughty Flirt", reminiscent of a jazzy, carefree past, the movie going public may have been turned off. In this year of unemployment and breadlines, if films started out with scenes of high living ("Bad Company" and "Dance Fools, Dance") audiences wanted to see stars really suffer before realising that the simple life was the best.
Spoiled rich girl Kay Elliott (Alice White) can't settle down, or even settle on one guy. In Naughty Flirt, she battles with Alan Ward (Paul Page -only made a few films) and Linda Gregory (Myrna Loy, three years before the Thin Man series) Alice White made many films, but none seem to be well known. She had been in the original, silent "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" 1928. White appeared in more than her share of movies with suggestive names (Naughty Baby, Hot Stuff, Lingerie, Playing Around) This is a good story, but you can tell it was made just as sound was coming in play - they were heavy on the eye makeup, and they even use subtitle cards several times. Also a music track playing under most of the dialogue. Keep an eye out for Fred Kelsey as the cop at the beginning - made a career out of playing the policeman (the Man Who Came to Dinner, Larceny Inc, the Bride Walks Out)
Alice White is, indeed, a "Naughty Flirt". She plays a "wild and crazy
party girl" who loves to go out and engage men. One man, a lawyer,
resists her advances - so, naturally, she wants him most of all. He
spanks her for her naughty ways, and it changes her life (she tells him
he really makes an "impression"). She gets herself a job as lawyer Paul
Page's secretary and does tough things like clean his inkwell. Myrna
Loy is good as a supporting player who wants to set her brother up with
wealthy Ms. White. White is an engaging and funny performer, but her
character behavior at the end of the film is so dumb it spoils the
film. It shows the character has no maturity. If I were Mr. Page, I
would shine her on - or, give her another spanking.
*** The Naughty Flirt (1/11/31) Edward F. Cline ~ Alice White, Paul Page, Myrna Loy
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Until I saw this movie last night, I'd never even heard of Paul Page who retired from film-making after appearing in a minor role as Jerry Bronson in the Wheeler-Woolsey Kentucky Kernels (1934). Here the dull Page has the male lead opposite super-sexy, rich heiress-running-wild, Alice White, while Myrna Loy likewise shines in the smaller role of villainess, Linda Gregory. Fortunately, Alice and Myrna give the movie sufficient lift to keep the foregone plot afloat and this despite Eddie Cline's somewhat erratic direction which manages to touch all bases from boring to humdrum to bright, from static long takes to sweeping tracking shots, and from dull close-ups to swift, scenic cut-ups. Fortunately, we can't cast any aspersions at all on Sid Hickox's moody photography. And as for the musical collaboration between music director Erno Rapee and orchestra conductor Leo F. Forbstein, all we can say is "Wow! Wow! Wow!" In fact, I've never heard better from the Vitaphone Orchestra. This magnificently recorded, full-blooded music run-out alone makes the Warner Archive DVD an absolute must-buy! Just don't forget to leave the DVD running when "The End" title blacks out. Thank you, Warner Archive! Thank you!
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