After Michael Carter's fiancée commits suicide, Michael vows to seek revenge on his wealthy family, who sabotaged their marriage. He drives across the country angrily, and lands up at a ...
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After Michael Carter's fiancée commits suicide, Michael vows to seek revenge on his wealthy family, who sabotaged their marriage. He drives across the country angrily, and lands up at a saloon, where he is shot by an Indian, Pete. Pete's girlfriend, Tonita nurses Michael's wound and falls in love with him. Michael realizes this, proposes marriage to Tonita - a perfect revenge for his prejudice family. They marry and he takes her to New York, in full Indian dress hoping to embarrass the family. The press and society mock the Carters - to Michael's delight. Tonita's confused as to why Michael doesn't want to consummate their marriage. At a coming out party for Tonita, set up by Diana (Michael's sister), Tonita's a big hit. Michael becomes angry for his family has "won". Tonita realizes the true reason for their marriage, and finds comfort with Bob, Diana's lover. Diana catches Tonita and Bob together and kills Bob, but, Tonita takes the blame and is arrested, for this is the perfect ... Written by
An item in the "Schenectady Gazette" (NY), dated September 5, 1934, announced this as a forthcoming production for director Mitchell Leisen. The small article, titled "Leisen Directs Sylvia", gave "Red Woman" as the film's title. See more »
I seriously doubt if you'll ever see this one on television!
I found this very strange film on YouTube and I really doubt if you'll see this on any television station. This is because the film, though well intentioned, has a lot of racist images of American Indians that will make a lot of people cringe. It also has one of the goofiest plots I've ever see in an old film from Classic Hollywood.
Michael (Gene Raymond) has a socially conscious family that is just plain evil. They're much more concerned about outward appearances than doing what is right or being happy. So, when Michael finds a regular poor girl to marry, his sister decides to destroy the marriage! She lies to the lady--telling her that Michael has run off and married another. The plan works wonderfully--and the fiancée commits suicide!! When Michael learns the truth, he storms off--going on a self-destructive bender across America.
At this point, the film starts to get mega-weird. When Raymond is nearly killed due to his reckless driving, he ends up at an Indian reservation. There he is accidentally shot! The Apache lady (Sylvia Sidney) who raises him back to health is a walking stereotype--with beads, costume, etc. all looking like she popped out of a western (even though it is supposed to be 1934). Her brother, by the way, mostly says 'How' and spends his time drinking! So much for creating a positive image of Native Americans! But here is the odd rub...the film is SUPPOSED to be positive in its depiction of the Apache and is about racial unity and understanding!!
Soon, Michael decides to marry Tonita Storm Cloud (Sidney) because he figures they'll be horrified to see him married to someone who ISN'T in the social registry! He brings her back--assuming that the newspapers and society swells will all just die laughing. But his strange plan doesn't go exactly as planned. If the plot sounds ludicrous, you're right...and it only gets crazier!!!
Apart from showing American Indians in a silly and very stereotypical way, the film also picks a very white actress to play the lead. The rest of her tribe DID appear to be Natives--and Hollywood often did this--painting up white actors to play the main parts and using actual Indians for the rest. Yet, inexplicably, the film ALSO wanted to preach understanding and tolerance!! Bizarre to say the least.
But is it any good? Well, it's NEVER dull! You also stay interested--mostly because Michael is such a jerk as well as his family. The way I see it, it's a guilty pleasure--a well made bad film that is awful BUT fun to watch at the same time.
By the way, the YouTube listing for this film called it 'Pre-Code'. Well, it isn't. The Production Code was implemented in July, 1934-- and this film debuted several months later, in December. Plus, apart from the controversial interracial marriage angle (I am surprised they were allowed to do this based on the new code), there isn't anything salacious of Pre-Code-like about this movie.
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