Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district ... See full summary »
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Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district attorney dedicated to closing down such houses. When her underling Dutton proposes telling the DA that Frisco Jenny is his birth mother, she kills the underling not to cause trouble for her son now the successful DA, she must face execution. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
"Frisco Jenny" released in 1932, stars Ruth Chatterton as a woman who has a child out of wedlock amidst the turmoil after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. The disaster leaves her in poverty, so she has no choice but to give the baby boy to a loving and wealthy couple. "Jenny" then fights her way out of poverty through bootlegging, prostitution, and other unsavory deeds. This of course leads her to associate with some corrupt folks. It all gets quite complicated, but Jenny is tried for murder of one of these folks. Then lo and behold, the prosecutor who goes after her is -- you guessed it -- none other than her now grown and successful son (Donald Cook). Interestingly, Chatterton starred just three years earlier in a similar film, Madame X. This film is "pre-code" meaning before the motion picture code was enforced in 1934. These films were considered controversial for the time, as issues like sex, drugs, and other things were more honestly and openly displayed. Chatterton gives a good performance here, and the film is entertaining. What surprised me most is William Wellman directed it. Although most known for his macho films, Wellman showed he could also direct women's pictures and fine dramas like the original "A Star is Born."
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