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In New York City, a young model is swept off her feet by a debonair, handsome young man. Unfortunately for her, he didn't want to get married but had been stringing her along. When she realizes he doesn't WANT her she will not force him even though she learned she was pregnant. She becomes bitter and angry at all men, until she meets a gentle and kind artist who tries to show her that her life can be better than it is. Written by
The play, "Ambush," opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 10 October 1921 and had 90 performances. The opening night cast included Florence Eldridge as Margaret and Frank Reicher as Walter. See more »
When Margaret takes the 1789 Robert Burns edition from her father and sets it on a shelf, she crosses under the microphone boom and it casts a shadow on her. See more »
There are a bunch of reckless hours in this film...
... starting with model Margie Nichols (Dorothy Mackaill) trusting socialite Allen Crane (Walter Byron) enough to go out with him and think him on the level after he basically insults her on first meeting. All dressed up in formal attire, he at first thinks her a fellow socialite and is very polite, but after he finds out she is a model in the dress shop his demeanor changes significantly, he gets familiar, and basically says she'll eventually sleep with him.
At home Margie has a rather difficult situation. Mom (Helen Ware) is dissatisfied with Dad's (H.B. Warner as Walter Nichols) income, with him owning a book shop and being happy with just that. She wants him to be bolder with his money and become an investor and a big shot, and she's constantly nagging on the subject. Margie is bored with her main suitor, Harry Gleason (Joe Donahue), but sister Myrtle (Joan Blondell), for some unknown reason, is just aching to take this zoot suited wise-guy away from her sister and drag him to the nearest JP. Conrad Nagel plays artist Eddie Adams with which Margie has a second course of reckless moments in the last half of the film after she becomes cynical about romance. She and the artist are a good match as he has become cynical too due to a faithless wife and his resulting failed marriage.
This is pretty much a precode with lots of conventional angles - middle class girl thinking she has found her rich prince charming only to find out he's a heel and that when it comes to his family the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree, feuding parents with one parent lending a sympathetic ear to the troubled daughter and the other parent oblivious and self-involved, and a couple of colorful neighborhood characters to lighten up the melodrama just a bit.
A couple of things of note. Joan Blondell's mating ritual with Joe Donahue's Harry Gleason just had me thinking - I'd actually believe she found this character interesting if Harry was being played by James Cagney, who was also still a supporting player at this point. After all, it was the kind of street wise character that Cagney excelled at playing that Joe was obviously aiming at portraying, but instead he just seems like a street-wise wannabe braggart. There's also a very interesting scene at a club when Margie is out with Allen. When he's talking things over with Eddie as to his plans that evening Allen basically tells Eddie - with Margie standing right there - that he's occupied because the two are spending the night together. That Allen would talk about her like she was a piece of meat in front of a total stranger should have told Margie that this relationship was not on its way to the altar. Finally notice Ivan F. Simpson as Eddie's butler who also played similar roles in George Arliss' films.
I'd recommend this as a very typical precode of the era, but with interesting performances by those involved and a look at Warner Brothers in transition, as it would soon abandon the stars it started out with in talking pictures such as Dorothy Mackaill and H.B. Warner and turn more towards stars such as Joan Blondell.
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