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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
Joan Blondell, here playing the little sister, is about a thousand times more charismatic on-screen than star Dorothy Mackaill, and her presence is one of the only excuses to give THE RECKLESS HOUR (1931) a shot.
The Depression-era melodrama starts off boringly enough (until we meet Blondell's character) and covers the familiar ground of the rich boy dating the middle class girl and making promises he never intends to keep, leaving the girl to suffer the consequences on her own.
Dorothy Mackaill's line readings really bring the movie down. It's something about her enunciation and how she spaces her lines apart. Blondell, for example, is much more naturalistic, but H.B. Warner and Conrad Nagel are also noticeably better than Mackaill in their scenes with her. Top-billed Mackaill is probably the worst actor in the whole film, and some of the scenes late in the movie, with the melodrama slapped on pretty thick, are almost impossible to take seriously.
Joan Blondell, just starting out in Hollywood, is relegated to a supporting role with limited screen time, but is nevertheless delightful. Fans of hers might want to give this one a look if it shows up on TCM. Otherwise...
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