After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.
William A. Wellman
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Charles 'Buddy' Rogers,
1920's bandleader Chuck Arnold meets hometown girl Peggy at one of the band's dances and next day weds her. Though she loves him, life on the road becomes increasingly difficult for her, ... See full summary »
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
INTERESTING BUT DATED, WITH A STRONG OPENING SEQUENCE
The opening sequence is incredible, starting with the shadows on torn billboards of the two protagonists in a seedy cityscape. She's a whore, and he, stumbling drunk, is following her to her room. Actually, she discovers when they get to her room that he's not stumbling drunk--a bullet had grazed his head and nearly knocked him out. There's no question, though, about her being a cheap whore, and the room a being whore's room. At one point, he looks around and says, "How'd I get here?" Her disgusted response: "The fairies brought you." He asks for a drink, and she gives him one: "One of the girls left this bottle here yesterday." There's a commotion in the hall. Detectives are searching the house for the man who just held up the payroll in the factory opposite. She tells the boy, "Quick, get off your clothes." He jumps into the bed and pretends a drunken sleep. The detective is looking for bigger fry and doesn't give her too hard a time for prostitution. She says he's been there for hours; she doesn't know anything about him. In these scenes, the acting, direction and writing are simple and direct. The two are shown as both cynical and naive; two lost souls. So far, superb! But then they decide to take his money, go on a spree, and when it's gone they'll commit suicide. Not superb. After the great opening sequence, the story becomes very sloppy, degenerating into primitive and unbelievable melodrama. At one point, for example, she asks how much money is left. Just $1,000, he says, only one day left. One day on $1,000 in 1931?? And Nancy Carroll unabashedly chews the scenery: "I don't want to die!" Hey, OK, so who's forcing you? But the film doesn't totally disintegrate. For example, the opening shot at a ritzy Havana hotel starts with a close-up of the band and gradually pulls back, tracking through the diners, all the way back for a long shot of the dance floor. When a stateside detective catches up with them, there are some lively plot twists, and Calhern, a wolf who has been after Nancy, winds up helping them when he sees that true love is bound to triumph. See this for the vital, gritty, pre-Code opening sequence; the rest is OK in a primitive way.
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