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At the urging of her curmudgeon old grandfather Jerome Cedric (C. Aubrey Smith), spoiled rich kid Annie Holt (Carole Lombard) is forced to marry into royalty in order to save her banker father, Bill Holt (Walter Connolly), from financial ruin. The man she really desires is Tony Gage (Lyle Talbot). It takes a well-written insurance policy and a sacrificial act on the part of a close relative to re-unite Annie and Tony. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
NO MORE ORCHIDS is just a little programmer movie but it's an incredibly elegant one. Columbia studios in the early 1930's was thought of as something as a poverty row studio yet this film looks as slick and expensive as any potboiler the more uptown MGM or Paramount might have produced.
Carole Lombard stars as a spoiled society girl who is engaged to a prince in a marriage arranged by her controlling grandfather C. Aubrey Smith. On the ocean-liner back to America, she falls in love with white collar worker Lyle Talbot (who in her pampered world qualifies as "penniless") and eventually breaks his cool barrier. Lombard's pal of a dad, Walter Connally, and paternal grandmother Louise Closser Hale are crazy about Talbot but mean old grandpa Smith is not about to let his plans fall through, having seen his own late daughter marry "beneath" her.
Carole Lombard is superb as the frivolous but good-hearted socialite and she surprisingly is matched by Lyle Talbot, one of the era's reliable but usually bland leading men; in this picture, Talbot exhibits a sex appeal seldom tapped in the scores of bread-and-butter pictures he cranked out. Connally is very good in one of his first movie roles as father to a screwball romantic comedy queen (although this picture ventures more toward soap opera "women's picture" despite some nice comedy bits). Talented character player Louise Closser Hale seems a bit miscast, she's a bit too cutesy and lacks the saltiness a May Robson might have brought to the part. Smith essays a rare villainous part in a rather brief but pivotal role. Ruthelma Stevens and the very cute Allen Stevens have the only other somewhat featured parts as two of Lombard's good-time buddies in the society crowd; these small parts are among the larger ones for each of them, as they generally played bits.
Lombard is so strikingly beautiful and assured in her performance here it's hard to believe she was little more than a starlet at the time and not yet a major Hollywood star. She is sensationally photographed, although one scene makes her facial scar from an early car wreck more visible than I've ever seen it in one of her films. NO MORE ORCHIDS is just another Hollywood movie but it moves quickly and smoothly and is well worth your time if you love films from the 1930's.
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