With her pal Kitty, Eadie Chapman escapes from the sleazy roadhouse run by her mother and stepfather, only to become a showgirl. But her former milieu gave her a poor opinion of easy morals, and she plans to preserve her 'virtue' until marriage...preferably to a rich husband; while Kitty keeps falling for servants. Will playboy Tom Paige break down Eadie's resistance before his cynical father intervenes? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
During the early 1930s, pretty much anything went when it came to films--nudity, cursing, adultery and graphic violence. However, these sort of films did not set well with many Americans or special interest groups, such as the Catholic Legion of Decency and attendance began to drop--leading the leaders of the various studios to scramble to bring back viewers. Ultimately, this led to the creation of the new Productiton Code of 1934. Gone were all the excesses of the past years and in its place was a very sanitized world--where husbands and wives didn't even sleep in the same bed! This was a problem for some actresses. Jean Harlow, Kay Francis and Ann Harding (among others) specialized in sexy movies where women who were tramps--and REALLY enjoyed it. Now, with the Code, plots were drastically changed and some of these actresses faded (after all, who today remembers Ann Harding?) while others adapted to new roles. In the case of the previously steamy Harlow, this meant her playing a girl who LOOKED cheap but who was pure deep. Even this image caused problems with the censors and a Harlow film was usually given extra scrutiny by the board because of her reputation in films.
Because of this background, making "The Girl From Missouri" was tough and it required many rewrites and cuts. And, as a result, it resulted in a very strange sort of morality. In this film, Harlow looks and sometimes acts cheap--but she ain't. Down deep she has VERY strong morals. She will NOT sleep with a man before marriage BUT in a nod to the old Harlow, she still insists that she must marry a rich man--love him or not! So, she's a gold-digger with a heart of gold! As a result of these changes, the films were still fun--but if you thought about the plots, they really made no sense at all.
"The Girl From Missouri" is well worth seeing though it's not as vulgarly wonderful as her earlier films (like "Red Dust", "Red-Headed Woman" and "Dinner at Eight"). It does have some lovely supporting actors--in particular Lionel Barrymore and Patsy Kelly. And, the film is quite fun from start to finish.
By the way, I mentioned Kelly in this film because I usually hated her films. However, here she was less brash and loud--and was a positive element in the movie. Here, she really proves she could act and behaves like a hilarious man-crazy dame (but without all the yelling). In reality she was apparently a lesbian and I assume that due to the rigidity of the new Code the studio deliberately gave the normally sexually ambiguous Kelly a VERY heterosexual role--as it was VERY atypical of her earlier roles. So, thanks to the Code, some folks went even deeper into the closet--as gay characters were pretty common up until 1934.
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