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Rags-to-riches Hennessey meets newlyweds Jessie and Eddie from his old neighborhood. Eddie plots to have Jessie divorce him, marry Hennessey, divorce Hennessey, then bring Hennessey's money into remarriage with Eddie. His plan goes awry at several points. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Crawford in above average Cinderella story...from rags to riches...
JOAN CRAWFORD plays a tenement girl with a Park Avenue accent no matter how much she has to sweat in a factory for a living. She hates her tenement environment so much that she's willing to run off with boyfriend ALAN CURTIS at the drop of a hat. Of course, what seemed like a good idea changes drastically once she meets wealthy SPENCER TRACY and realizes what her life could be as "a lady". LEO GORCEY is a howl as her nasty kid brother.
That's the main thrust of MANNEQUIN--a sort of "money can't buy happiness" theme that is played out in typical '30s style with Joan Crawford giving her fans a rags to riches story tailored to please depression weary audiences. Despite the fact that Crawford seems too cultured to be playing a girl from the city flats, she's convincing enough as the newly married woman who croons a song to Curtis on the dance floor, a little something called "Always and Always". Curtis has the role of a thankless heel and plays it to the hilt.
Tracy is so enamored with "the awfully sweet kid" that you know the Curtis/Crawford marriage is headed for the rocks. Thanks to the natural performances of Tracy and Crawford, it all works better than it sounds on paper--due also to Frank Borzage's fine direction and ELIZABETH RISDON's performance as Crawford's hard-working mother who doesn't want her daughter to give up her dream.
Whether slumming or enjoying the posh life among the idle rich, Crawford never loses her poise and gets to toss off some smart lines. No matter how poor she's supposed to be, her clothes never look like they came off thrift shop racks. She photographs attractively with a softer look than her later image would have, so this is a real treat for Crawford fans. Especially when she becomes a "mannequin" at a posh fashion show, attired in some of Adrian's most outrageous gowns.
The good chemistry with SPENCER TRACY helps a lot. "It all started when you slugged me," says Tracy, proposing marriage to her. Will she or won't she find true happiness with a rich man? Hint: It ends with another slug.
Summing up: Fun for true Crawford fans, but others may find it's all a little too artificial for comfort.
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