Among the regular conventioneers, "Babe" LaVal is the most-in-demand "convention girl" among the Atlantic City hostesses, plying their trade on the famed Steel Pier or in the vicinity of the Ritz-Carlton Terrace. She is especially favored by Atlantic City casino-owner Dan Higgins, and Ward Hollister, a Philadelphia soap manufacturer, who isn't as squeaky clean as his product. She also has time to monitor the relationship between her weird-looking, tap-dancing nephew, Tommy LaVal, and sweet Daisy Miller who, may or may not, be pure as the driven snow. Tommy poses no threat to her purity. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
In Spite Of The Lead Character's Vocation Of Prostitute, This Is A Thoroughly Sweet-Natured Melodrama.
A representative attempt of its period at sentimental realism, this Falcon Pictures Corporation production, made by Reel Enterprises, a Great Depression era Poverty Row studio, features Rose Hobart as Cynthia "Babe" Laval, a world weary lady of the evening and procuress who has secured a virtual monopoly on call girls in Atlantic City, where most of this film was shot, all while her quest for true romantic love forms the nub of the work. Babe plays Cupid for her rounded heel charges during sales conventions and for this story it is a convocation of washing machine company representatives where it appears that Babe may have chanced upon her dream man, perhaps the best of her recent prospects, a cultured middle aged soap industry nabob, Wade Hollister (Herbert Rawlinson), who patently returns Babe's ardour as the two develop an impassioned relationship. This mutual attraction is most unpleasant to Babe's former swain, Bill Bradley (Weldon Heyburn), whose aggressive wooing of her has been unavailing because Bill owns and operates an illegal gambling joint and after she plainly seems to prefer Ward's more respectable background, Bradley discovers that he is out of her future plans and the setting is created for a clash between the suitors. Those viewers interested in United States social and cultural history will have a whale of a time watching well-selected plot incorporated footage of the era's Atlantic City Boardwalk, including scenes of acrobats, the famous Diving Horse at Steel Pier, vast crowded beaches, and the still popular wicker rolling chairs, all nicely integrated into a scenario that has little enough weight of its own to carry a narrative forward. Released also as Atlantic CITY ROMANCE, the affair offers some pleasing musical interludes, notably vocal solos by Ruth Gillette and pert Nancy Kelly, each accompanied by Isham Jones and his dance orchestra (an alert viewer can spot Woody Herman as a sideman, playing alto saxophone). Despite a featherweight plot line that might well have used a trifle more wit, and a screenplay that emphasizes a key plot device of blackmail, with its target being a lady of the evening whose portion takes in an attempted murder of her younger brother, a pleasant tone has ousted any potential emphasis upon the distasteful, aided greatly by a solid supporting cast; acting laurels must go to talented Hobart. Reissued upon an Alpha Entertainment DVD that, as is customary with that company, lacks any extra features or much needed remastering, the film as a result has only indifferent audio quality and merely adequate visual reproduction, although there is but a minimum of excisions.
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