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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William A. Wellman
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TCM's print of Frisco Jenny benefits from being in near pristine condition, and luckily the film itself is pretty good, too. Director William Wellman never settles for static shots, relying on almost constant camera movement to keep the story moving and culminating in a cleverly shot (though somewhat gimmicky) courtroom sequence. Ruth Chatterton looks somewhat younger than in most of her features but by film's end she's reverted to her more natural (and to my mind, more attractive) look. It's unfortunate that a Caucasian actress who specialised in ethnic roles, Helen Jerome Eddy, was cast in the important role of Amah, Chatterton's Chinese housekeeper and confidante, but that shouldn't be taken as criticism of Eddy's performance, which is quite fine. Throw in a decent recreation of the great quake of 1906, and you have an entertaining and ultimately very moving household drama that doesn't pull its punches.
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