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[on the telephone]
But Carol, this bank is your guardian. We're living in 1932, but you persist in spending money as if it were still '29, before the crash. You've forced me to eliminate your charities - even your father's most beloved project - the Morgan Home for Girls.
[lounging on her silk sheets]
Fine. I don't believe in delinquent girls - silly weaklings.
But our records show that twenty-nine percent of them went on the street because they didn't have a bed to sleep in.
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Not quite 'The Crowd' to be frank, but a very worthy, suitably downbeat and constantly entertaining depiction of conditions in Depression America. Bankhead is the spoiled heiress who goes broke, and not very graciously at that, reunites with her old beau, Montgomery the sausage manufacturer, and learns valuable lessons walking the streets to buy medicine for him when he is recovering from a vicious attack by truck-drivers when he was trying out as a scab. So, pretty down-to-earth stuff this, right? But of course, MGM being MGM, even in these daring Pre-Code days, and Tallulah being Tallulah, the first third of the film is packed with state of the art glamor and a little too self-absorbed and complacent to blend in well with the rest of the film.
Miss Bankhead slouches through the various modes of the film, very much in a one size fits all kind of characterization, but she says her lines well and growls her 'dahlings' to every heart's content. You don't quite believe her heart is in it when she quotes the percentage of streetwalkers claiming they all had "good reason". Robert Montgomery is the real treat as the eternal optimist who just cannot be held down for long. He is wonderful and has an authentic vulnerability. The best scene, though, is Tallulah's in collaboration with the director. Exasperated at the sight of her ailing husband lying there in bed Tallulah quickly dresses to go out. The sympathetic landlady asks her where she's going. "To the drugstore". Landlady: "You look a little ... pale". So she obviously guesses Tallulah's about to prostitute herself and helps her apply her alluring makeup in her own understated way. By the way, it's a remarkable film.
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