|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||12 reviews in total|
How pretty, sexy, and vivacious Lana Turner was, and she's shown to
great advantage in "These Glamour Girls," a 1939 film about a weekend
of house parties at an upper-class college. Turner plays a Jane, a taxi
dancer at the Joy Lane Dance Hall who meets Phil (Lew Ayres), a college
student from an old family who's at the Joy Lane slumming with his
pals. While drunk, he invites her to the big weekend at Knightsbridge
College. When she arrives, he's forgotten who she is and he already has
a date. He convinces her to stay anyway, and while having a good time,
she gets a glimpse of what the upper class is really like and what's
important to them: background, the right schools, social standing, and
money. And don't forget the booze.
This is an okay story with some good performances from Turner, Ayres, Richard Carlson, Marsha Hunt, Ann Rutherford, Tom Brown, Jane Bryan, and Anita Louise. Rutherford's with a man who doesn't want her, and Louise is the resident bitch. Bryan is dating Ayres, but it's obvious she's in love with Carlson. Marsha Hunt plays Betty, a 23-year-old still hanging with the college crowd in the hopes of nabbing a man. When she overhears someone say she should get married soon before she misses the boat, she panics. It's themes like this in the '30s-'50s that are hard to stomach, and frankly, it brings down this film. The resolution of the Betty arc is very out of place.
Most of the actors were in their twenties, but Turner was only 18 and Ayres was 30, a little old for a college kid - but he was always a very likable actor. Except for Turner, whose charisma leaps out of the screen, there isn't anything special about "These Glamour Girls."
This little-known film is a lot of fun. The dialogue is quite pointed and witty and the pacing is very good. Lana Turner is especially appealing, and the college boys' catty girlfriends are astounding when they get going with their bitchy badinage.
A little background on the origins of this film--- The film is
entertaining and well acted if over the top in spots. Frank Nugent,
veteran film critic at The New York Times, called it "the best social
comedy of the year."(8/31/1939). Nugent also admires the actors
"because they all admirably served the very high and rare cinematic
purposes of social satire, deliberately rigged from the underprivileged
viewpoint, and even in its affected callowness-- more brutally
acidulous than Claire Luce ever dreamed of being." The person most
responsible for the story and dialogue was Jane Hall who wrote a 150
page film treatment for "These Glamour Girls," with Marion Parsonnet in
the late summer of 1938. They also wrote the screenplay. Cosmopolitan
(Yes! It used to be a literary magazine) then commissioned Hall to turn
her treatment into a book-length novel for its December 1938 issue.
Hall's stories about the romantic predicaments of the smart young set appealed to harassed young housewives and working women; several were published in national magazines between 1936 and 1942. Her snappy dialogue caught the notice of MGM and in October 1937 she was offered a contract as a scenarist; she remained in Hollywood for much of the next three years. (For a time Scott Fitzgerald wrote in the office next to her.)
Hall and her beloved fox terrier Kate (rescued during the 1938 floods in Los Angeles) were the October 1939 Cosmopolitan cover girls. Illustrator Bradshaw Crandell whose iconic cover girls were usually anonymous put "Jane Hall MGM" on the dog tag.
This film (and her stories) reflect the values in Hall's background. Her candid and refreshing take on society life in New York City and on eastern campuses stems from her childhood in a tiny desert town in Arizona (Salome) and in Manhattan Beach, CA. At 15, following the death of her widowed mother, she came to live with her aunt and uncle in Manhattan. Over the next five years, despite their huge losses during the Depression, her guardians saw to it that she met glamour girls and boys very much like the young college men and women in the film. Kingsford College is a take-off on Princeton University where she attended house parties. A keen observer, Hall drew on her experiences as a New York debutante in her writing. Could that be why the young heroine in the film is called Jane?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When she was cast in light comedies Lana was delightful. Young and
fresh faced and adorably cute, in my opinion, when she became a "femme
fatale" she lost some of her appeal. "Slightly Dangerous" (1943) where
she plays a soda jerk who pretends to have amnesia is definitely my
favourite, but "These Glamour Girls" gives her a much better role than
the year before's "Love Finds Andy Hardy".
While "slumming" Phillip Griswold 111 (a boyish looking Lew Ayres) meets Jane Thomas (Lana Turner) at a dance hall. After a fiery outburst - "you don't have that red hair for nothing" - Phillip drunkenly asks her to the Kingsford House Party.
Kingsford College is known for its "glamour boys" and the "glamour girls" of the title are very keen to get an invite. Carol (Jane Bryan) is a sweet girl who hopes to marry Phil, even though she is not in love with him. It would help her family, who have lost their wealth. Joe is a nice boy, who is working his way through Kingsford College - he is really in love with Carol. Mary Rose (Ann Rutherford) a spoilt Southern belle is trying to hook Homer (Tom Brown). Daphne (Anita Louise) is a silly snobbish bore who never loses a moment to make Jane feel small. Marsha Hunt who was definitely on her way after this performance plays Betty, regarded as "over the hill" by the other girls and who is desperate to find a husband. What happens to her will sober everyone up. I actually think that Daphne looks a lot older than Betty .
Of course Phillip, who has forgotten all about inviting Jane, gets a surprise when she arrives at college for the house party. Carol and Ann (Mary Beth Hughes, who initially looked as though she was going to have a bigger part) are welcoming but the rest are appalled at her lack of background - "Corn Falls isn't a gag - it's my home!!!"
Daphne accidentally hears a conversation between Jane and Phillip and realizes that she is a taxi dancer - Daphne tries to make trouble. Not before Jane causes a sensation on the dance floor and after a few snide remarks from Daphne concerning Jane's occupation the boys queue up for dance lessons.
The dramatic part of the story belongs to Betty, who has spent the night with Homer and feels that only marriage will help her save face. He is definitely not in favour and she, in desperation drives in front of a train. Betty was the only dramatic character with any dimension and she was surrounded by vapid "glamour pusses". I felt more time should have been given for her to develop her character and to get more audience sympathy - but it would not have been a light comedy then.
Meanwhile the film ends with Jane and Phillip together. His father is arrested for fraud - he tells Phil there is "hidden" money so the family will not be in want but Phil does the right thing and turns it over to the shareholders.
This film is a good example of MGM's early attempts to establish a
screen persona for Lana Turner. Her role here as a dance hall hostess
is similar to the rags-to-riches roles that Joan Crawford had
successfully played early in her own career a decade earlier. However,
Lana Turner just wasn't made to wear rags, and it wasn't until MGM put
her into satins and jewels that audiences really responded.
This film is an entertaining mix of romantic comedy and social class commentary. The university town ("Kingsford") is obviously patterned after Princeton, NJ. (The eating clubs that host the prom in the film are still very much thriving institutions at Princeton.) There's a strong supporting cast and the condescending attitudes of some of the upper crust girls toward Turner is refreshingly realistic. (Amusingly, Turner apparently has red hair in this black-and-white film. Other characters refer to her as "Red").
It may be lightweight fare, but the movie's still a revealing glimpse
of the upper 1% of the 1930's. There's heartache aplenty when rich boy
(Ayers) dates taxi dancer (Turner) from lower 99% and then stands her
up in front of his snooty social circle. She's humiliated, to say the
least, and we feel for her. Rich boy, Phil, has a lot to learn about
life and people, and the remainder shows him trying to get things
It's an MGM production so the glossy upper crust is spread on convincingly, from the high fashion clothes to the glittering ballrooms to the carefree attitudes. At the same time, the girls don't disappoint in the glamour department just as the title promises. We also get a cross-section of personality types from bitchy Daphne to misfit Betty to nice girl Carol. So it's lots of eye candy with some clumsy humor thrown in (the drunken Harvard man). But then, the movie turns dark near the end, and we see the downside of all the glitter (the stockbroker dad; an onrushing train). Notice, however, how biology ultimately triumphs over class.
The competition may be heavy but Turner shines as the working girl with stars in her eyes. But I especially like a rather obscure Jane Bryan (Carol) who projects an effortless inner radiance. Too bad that she left the business so soon. All in all, the film's a diverting peek into class mores of the time, a topic I expect still resonates with today's 99%.
In MGM standard, this is not a big budget film - lots of unknown
contract actors, standard sets where most of the scene were shot in the
studio. But this is a good film if you want to get a glimpse of how
Lara Turner went from the sweater girl to the deadly housewife in
"Postman Always Rings Twice". Personally, I like Lara Turner at this
stage, she's alluring enough that you can't take your eyes off her; yet
still looked fresh and innocent enough that you would settle for just
dancing with her in your arms.
This ensemble cast includes quite a few familiar faces: Lew Ayres, Katherine Hepburn's show-stealing brother from "Holiday", plays the male lead Phil Griswold. Jane Bryan plays Carol, Phil's fiancée. This is also one of the few films where Anita Louise plays a fulling developed character. This platinum beauty wasn't much of an actress, limited both by her talent and her looks; but was famous for her parties in her times.
Minor B of more interest for its cast of up and coming future stars
than the ordinary script.
Lana saddled with an unbecoming hairstyle is clearly being groomed for the big time. She still hadn't finished the transformation from the girlish Judy Turner to the sleek Lana but she is on her way, she's bright and spunky.
The film's lower budget origins are obvious in the fact that many of the plot points are teased along and then they and the actors involved simply disappear from the narrative.
The film's most intriguing character, the insecure and lost Betty, is assigned to the best actress of the bunch Marsha Hunt but unfortunately treated as a secondary player. Her actions are never fully explained and the aftermath of her story is completely ignored however she makes more of an impression than any of the other performers and you miss her when she's not on the screen. Actually her story could have made an interesting film on its own.
Slight but worth catching once for the cast.
What a hidden little gem. Drunken rich college boy (Lew Ayres) invites
working class girl(Lana Turner) to a big college dance. Once she
arrives there, however, he has sobered up and forgotten all about her.
Despite this and despite being treated badly by the snobby girls, Lana
stays and shows them all up.
A delightful movie with a great cast full of beautiful young starlets. Lana Turner is gorgeous and her curvy figure is certainly different than most of the other girls. Her personality shines in this movie as well. She's really likable. Lovely Jane Bryan plays one of the nicer rich girls. Jane has a crush on a working class boy herself. Anita Louise is the viper of the bunch; the head mean girl. Ann Rutherford, adorable as ever, is the slow but cute one. Marsha Hunt plays a girl who is a little older than the others and is trying too hard to fit in. She's quite good to watch. Lew Ayres is charming, even when he's being a jerk. Richard Carlson plays the object of Jane Bryan's affections. Mostly lightweight but some darker parts as well. On the whole, lots of fun.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lana Turner tries to find what life in high society is like and
realizes, like what Gary Cooper admitted in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town",
that the important people aren't really big people. She's a taxi dancer
who is invited by drunken college student Lew Ayres (way past the age
of college) to a weekend party and finds out when she arrives that he
already has a date. In the midst of the débutantes she's placed with
when another student asks her to stay on as his date, she finds a bunch
of phonies, all troubled and hiding behind their designer gowns and
cotillions with insecurities and attitudes that stem from extreme
Actually, not all of these society girls are snobs; A few of them are gracious to her, and the others are obviously jealous of her natural beauty which has all the boys in a tizzy. Then, there's débutante Anne Rutherford who spends so much time nagging her boyfriend that he drunkenly runs off with someone else. The difference between who is a lady and who is a female is obvious. Poor Ayres, too, isn't free from some scandal; In the midst of everything, news about his father is revealed that threatens his own position as a frat boy. The timing couldn't be worse for Ayres to play this part; He was rising up from several years in "B" films because of the popularity of the "Dr. Kildare" series, and it had been 10 years since his smash hit "All Quiet on the Western Front".
Some of the revelations this film makes about high society is pretty revealing in its own way. There's one socialite who has been attending these parties longer than the seniors have been there. Another takes Rutherford's boyfriend to a justice of the peace while he's drunk and when he rejects her she plots a vile revenge. Most of the men are pretty shallow in a stupid way, while the less than moralistic females are young spider women already spinning webs even before they've found their mate. It's an almost who's who of late 30's ingénues here but the ultimate feeling I got was of a more dramatic "Andy Hardy" movie without Andy present. Still, when Turner gets her moxy up and tells off the entire crowd (or better yet, shutting those women up when the men all offer a dime to dance when her true profession is revealed), you might find yourself cheering.
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|