|Index||8 reviews in total|
Two gold digging chorines think they can solve the mystery of
criminal's murder and a GIRL MISSING on her wedding night.
Fast-moving & fun, this is another example of the comedy crime picture that Warner Brothers was so expert at producing. Casts & plots could be shuffled endlessly, with very predictable results. While this assembly line approach created few classics, audience enjoyment could usually be assured.
Warners' wisecracking brassy blonde, Glenda Farrell, and pretty Mary Brian play the chorus girls stranded in Florida who must crack the homicide and kidnapping case in order to earn the sizable reward. They are both excellent in their roles, with sassy Farrell especially funny slinging her one-liners.
Ben Lyon plays the newlywed husband with much unexpected trouble on his hands. Lyle Talbot appears as a successful New York gigolo gone adventuring to Miami. Little Ferdinand Gottschalk is the eccentric parent of the purloined bride and wonderful character actor Guy Kibbee enlivens his few scenes as an old lecher desperate to get his hands on Miss Brian.
Movie mavens will recognize Louise Beavers as a maid & Walter Brennan as a garage attendant, both uncredited.
Motor-mouthed Glenda Farrell adds sass and vinegar to this
crime programmer dating from the early sound era. She and Mary Brian play
couple of New York gold-diggers stranded in Palm Beach when frustrated
daddy Guy Kibbee sticks them with an unpaid hotel bill. Spurred on by the
prospect of a big reward, they get mixed up in the bridal-night
disappearance of yet another gold-digger (Peggy Shannon), whom they know
from her days in the kick line, but who managed to snag a millionaire (Ben
In the course of their meddling, they encounter an old pal (Lyle Talbot) who seems anxious to get them out of town; a pair of overstuffed hams posing as a society couple (Helen Ware, Ferdinand Gottschalk); and a body in the hotel gardens, still smoking a cigar. Film buffs will catch brief appearances by Walter Brennan, Louise Beavers and Dennis O'Keefe.
Without ever really losing sight of its mystery plot or lapsing into the `comic,' Girl Missing brandishes a lot of racy, pre-Code wit, dished out mainly by Farrell. Most of the credit can no doubt go to scriptwriter Jules Furthman, whose credits include Shanghai Express, Bombshell, The Big Sleep and Nightmare Alley. The rest can go to Frenchman Robert Florey, whose directorial career may not be quite so distinguished but bears watching: Cocoanuts (the first Marx Brothers movie), the first `talking' Murders in the Rue Morgue, and a few noirs like Danger Signal and The Crooked Way. Girl Missing succeeds because of good teamwork, and it had a great team.
Glenda Farrell is a delight as Torch Blane in that series. Here we have
of a hybrid:
This starts out as a light-hearted comedy dedicated strictly to the fine art of gold-digging.
When it eases into the mystery suggested by the title, Glenda keeps pace beautifully and the movie keeps its rhythm.
A real pleasure!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"For the G.D. Sisters - I don't know whether he means Gold Digger or
that other well known word"!!!
Directed by the very under rated Robert Florey using some quite unusual camera angles (overhead shot of gambling tables, camera shots from the floor ala "Citizen Kane"). Delectable Peggy Shannon may have been the "Girl Missing" and pretty Mary Brian may have been the chorus girl used as "beauty bait" but sizzling Glenda Farrell was sensational and just the whole show. Her rapid fire delivery of lines would have left James Cagney standing and proved she could have run the New York Police Department with one hand tied behind her back. "Listen you dumbbells - I'm running the show now"!!! Unfortunately the ending had simpering Mary Brian bagging the handsome millionaire while Glenda had to be content trading wisecracks with the Chief of Police - "Now Kay, don't get tough - I don't get tough, I am tough"!!! In one of her few starring roles and she still doesn't get her man!! "Snake-eyes!! Wouldn't that frost your grandmother's cake!!!"
"Working for a living's old fashioned"!! Kay Curtis (Glenda Farrell) and June Dale (Mary Brian) are two chorus girls left with an unpaid hotel bill of $700, thanks to June's irate "sugar daddy" who has left them high and dry. They run into a fellow chorine, "Dumb" Daisy (Peggy Shannon) who is looking distinctly up market, with her millionaire fiancée, Henry Gibson (Ben Lyon) and her "society parents" -"Daisy's folks - she can have them and they can have her"!!. Needless to say, she gives our gals the air - "He thinks she's first rate society instead of second row chorus"!!
On her wedding night she goes "missing" and the hapless groom offers a reward of $25,000 to whoever can help solve the mystery. Kay, who thinks she can and wants the reward, rushes to Henry's hotel. He has already met June in the lift and you suddenly know who is going to end up with who!! - "He likes you, I'm only the stepchild - everything I do is wrong"!! Kay and June think they know who is behind the disappearance - Raymond Fox (Lyle Talbot) met them in the bar and seemed awful eager to have them leave town - even paying their hotel bill. He had once been close to Daisy and wants them to let her have a break (by marrying millionaire Henry). Kay knows the real Daisy and after saving Henry's life - his car wheel has been tampered with by Raymond's driver - convinces him to fake his death to the papers - "that'll bring Daisy back in the picture" - and it does!! It also exposes her "parents" as a couple of ham actors, hired along with Daisy to hook millionaire Henry (a plot device used the same year in Jean Harlow's "Bombshell"). It all finished, with plenty of pre-code humour and wisecracks, as Kay pulls a gun and gets confessions from the right people - much to the admiration of the Chief of Police. "Yeah and what did I get - Don't worry you've still got it coming"!!
Peggy Shannon, after such a promising start in films ("The Secret Call") was now, due to temperament and alcohol, way down in the cast list, usually playing hard boiled chorus girls ("Girl - Missing" and "The Case of the Lucky Legs"(1935)). It was a sad end, eventually, to such a promising career.
Girl Missing (1933)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Robert Florey directed this fast-paced Warner mystery about a couple chorus girls (Glenda Farrell, Mary Brian) who are ditched in Palm Springs after their sugar daddy (Guy Kibbee) leaves them there. They hear about a former friend who has snagged a millionaire (Ben Lyon) but after she goes missing on her honeymoon the girls decide to do their own investigating. GIRL MISSING certainly isn't going to be mistaken for a classic but there's no doubt that the cast is attractive and it all leads up to a pretty good ending. I think the best thing the film has going for it is the cast all of whom fit their roles quite nicely. Farrell and Brian are certainly the strong points as the two work perfectly well together and they know had to throw things back and forth and they really help keep the film moving. The two of them have some nice comic timing and there's no question that they take their parts and rise them a few notches. Lyon is also good in his role as the husband who might have something to hide and we also have Lyle Talbot playing a man who helps the girls out. Kibbee appears at the very start of the film in just a five-minute sequence but he's certainly memorable in the funny bit of a man who wants to "make love" for spending money on the ladies. The opening few scenes contain quite a bit of pre-code comedy aimed at money for sex, which is certainly fun when viewed today. The film has quite a few small issues including the fact that the comedy usually doesn't work. There are some supporting characters who are constantly arguing and this here never gets the laughs. There are also some minor bits with a dimwitted detective that really doesn't work either. With that said, fans of "B" mysteries should enjoy this one as it goes by at a quick pace and there's no doubt that the cast is attractive.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For a 1933 movie, "Girl Missing" has surprisingly advanced camera work, and for a 68-minute movie, it has a surprisingly intricate plot. Glenda Farrell and Mary Brian make a good team of amateur sleuths, their somewhat contrasting styles working to their advantage; Brian is softer, sweeter, more romantic, Farrell is tougher, faster, more aggressive. Brian's smile should be enough to brighten even the gloomiest day, and Farrell's rapid-fire line delivery here probably contributed to her getting the "Torchy Blane" role a few years later - another amateur sleuth with a great crime-solving instinct. "Girl Missing" is no great shakes, but it passes the time pleasantly enough. **1/2 out of 4.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
GIRL MISSING is a typical Warner Bros. programmer from the early
thirties, a passable comedy murder mystery elevated to being fairly
entertaining almost entirely due to the ever sensational Glenda Farrell
in the starring role. Farrell and Mary Brian play Broadway chorines on
the prowl in Florida; Brian has hooked lecherous old Guy Kibbee but she
has yet to come across much to the old lech's disgruntlement, having
set both (!!) girls up in a swanky hotel. Finally having enough of
nothing, Kibbee skips town leaving them with a $700 hotel bill. To add
injury to insult, the girls read in the paper a dreaded old chorus girl
rival of theirs, Peggy Shannon, has hooked the rich young millionaire
Broke and broken, the girls run into Shannon who haughtily denies knowing them. Fuming ever more, they sulk at the bar when who should they run into buy another old Broadway acquaintance, gigolo-conman Lyle Talbot, an old flame of Shannon's. Talbot sympathetically offers to pay the girls hotel bill and their fares back to New York and they take him up on his offer, but the next day Brian runs into the groom-to-be Lyon and develops a crush, which causes the girls to miss their train and have to stay over another few days.
Lyon and Shannon elope and return to their hotel for the honeymoon, only to have Shannon mysteriously disappear that night. Lyon's announced reward of $25,000 for the location of his wife keeps the girls in town and Farrell in particular thinks Shannon and Talbot have cooked up a scheme together and is out to prove it.
This movie only runs 69 minutes but it seems a little longer given we've seen all this before; of the cast only Glenda Farrell really gives it her all. Farrell dives into this little mystery like it's THE MALTESE FALCON and makes the film seem much better than it actually is. She alas receives very little help from Mary Brian, whose performance is astonishingly awkward considering how long she had been acting in films at this point, or even the usually reliable Ben Lyon, here in a rather milquetoast role to which he adds nothing. Lyle Talbot and Guy Kibbee have rather small parts despite their importance to the storyline; Peggy Shannon is not bad as the two-faced bride while Helen Ware and Ferdinand Gottshalk are very good as her bogus parents.
This final paragraph is a spoiler that reveals the screenwriter is the one actually spoils the film. We know of course given how these stories go that (A) Shannon and Talbot are behind her "disappearance" and (B) "leads" Lyon and Brian will fall in love and live happily ever after. At the conclusion though when Shannon is at the police station and cornered, she comes up with a sensational story that her husband was behind her disappearance, that he could only get his inheritance by being married and then he drugged her and had her kidnapped. The film-goer has witnessed both Lyon's confession about the inheritance status and him giving her a presumed aspirin for a headache yet dismissed this, believing him the victim of the film and because of how this type of story always plays out in 1930's programmers one knows Shannon and Talbot are the bad guys and Lyon is the good guy by their screen personas. The screenwriter completely blew a chance to make a cutting edge mystery for the era by not making Shannon's tale in fact true - a supposedly "victim" double crossing the con artists who are out to trap him - instead the author passes it over for the conventional sappy wrap-up of the "good" couple walking off into the sunset together even if she is another golddigger herself and he, so supposedly worried about his missing bride yet still makes a breakfast date with Brian! 1930's audiences might have been pleased with this conventional ending but a true surprise ending with not only the Shannon/Talbot gang locked up but a devious heir Lyon as well and the jaded chorines Farrell and Brian off on the train to their next adventure would have packed a stronger punch and made this a vastly better film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After sugar daddy Guy Kibbee gets fed up with the two chorus girls
(Glenda Farrell and Mary Brian) not "putting out" after bringing them
to Palm Beach, he leaves them a "Dear Jane" letter, informing them that
he's checked out and NOT paid their hotel bill. This leaves the girls
broke and stranded and they take up the offer of an old pal from New
York to pay their bill as well as their train back to New York. But
circumstances beyond their control keep them there, and they get
involved in the disappearance of old chorus girl rival (Peggy Shannon)
who has married a wealthy young man (Ben Lyon) and is obviously
involved in some sort of scam. It is up to Farrell and Brian (mostly
out of smug revenge) to expose Shannon for who she really is, and
expose the killer of one of the people involved in the scam.
This is pre-code society comedy at its seediest, obvious from the start with Guy Kibbee's brief appearance as the lecherous old coot who insists on making love to Brian simply because of his generosity. As icky as that sounds, it is presented with humor, and Kibbee's revenge on the two girls is hysterically funny. These Warner Brothers pre-code comedies are mostly enjoyable because of the wise-cracking dialog, and Farrell gets a dime a dozen. Obviously, Mary Brian was cast in the absence of Farrell's often co-star Joan Blondell, and she lacks the chemistry that Farrell and Blondell shared, coming off rather ordinary. Of course, Farrell and Blondell snapped, crackled and popped whether they were co-horts in some scam or rivals over some man.
Ferdinand Gottschalk and Helen Ware are very funny as Shannon's obviously phony society parents, ham actors who obviously can't stand each other and who obviously hate pretending to be husband and wife. A ton of character favorites appear in unbilled minor roles, but are instantly recognizable, including Louise Beavers as Shannon's maid and Walter Brennan as a gas station attendant. You can't find fault in these depression era, pre-code programmers, although some are much better than others. This ranks in the middle, which considering the number of films made each year during this time isn't a bad place to be.
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