Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
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Robert Z. Leonard
Eddie Hall and his partner Slim are a pair of nickel-and-dime con men on the hustle. Nearly caught by the police, Eddie ducks into Ruby Adams's apartment and convinces her to hide him. Ruby isn't averse to taking advantage of the gullible herself and has even tried to manipulate money out of Al, the square shooter from Cincinnati who adores her. Ruby and Eddie hit it off, but when Eddie accidentally kills a drunk who was pawing Ruby, he takes off and she ends up in a women's reformatory, where she discovers she is pregnant. Devastated at the thought that Eddie has deserted her, she doesn't realize that Eddie has undergone a great change--one that will have a powerful impact on her. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Love conquers all. That includes reality as defined in this pre-Code tearjerker. I would sympathize with the moral if the end weren't exaggerated into such a pile of mush. As others point out, the first half is sprightly as Gable and Harlow work the shady side of life. But then Gable accidentally kills a guy, while Harlow gets nabbed for a con job. So it's off to the hoosegow for both. Actually Gable drops out, while we follow Harlow's jaunt in a military- type slammer for women. Babes behind bars it ain't. The girls get to wear shapeless smocks, presided over by a bunch of long black crows (Patterson, et al.). One thing this segment proveswomen can march from here to there in lockstep as well as men.
Some pre-Code highlightsHarlow in a gown unruffled by underwear; an actual socialist loudly denouncing the "system"; an unmarried Harlow with-child after an undisguised night with Gable; a peek-a-boo with Harlow in the bathtub. And though it's not pre-Code, the black minister and his inmate daughter rise above stereotype of the day. In fact, Theresa Harris is so winning as daughter Lillie Mae, she nearly steals the show. I can see why she had such a long career, even if mainly as menials.
The movie's a good look at MGM's golden twosome in their prime. And if the material falters, the stars manage to shine. So fans should be happy, despite the soggy ending.
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