6.6/10
191
6 user 3 critic

Three Girls About Town (1941)

Passed | | Adventure, Comedy | 23 October 1941 (USA)
To save the reputation of the hotel where they are employed, sisters try to cover up a murder.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Robert Benchley ...
Wilburforce Puddle
...
Faith Banner
...
Charity Banner
...
Tommy Hopkins
Hugh O'Connell ...
Chief of Police
Frank McGlynn Sr. ...
Josephus Wiegal
Eric Blore ...
Charlemagne
Paul Harvey ...
Fred Chambers
...
Maggie O'Callahan
Almira Sessions ...
Tessie Conarchy
Dorothy Vaughan ...
Mrs. McDougall
Walter Soderling ...
Charlie
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alec Craig ...
Samuel - Potential Casket Customer
Joseph Crehan ...
Labor Leader
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Storyline

Faith and Hope Banner, sisters, are "convention hostesses" in a hotel. A body is discovered next door as the magician's convention is leaving and the mortician's convention is arriving, and the sisters, with help from manager Wilburforce Puddle, try to hide it. Complicating matters, Hope's boyfriend, Tommy, is a newspaper reporter in the hotel covering some labor negotiations, and youngest sister Charity arrives and has her eye on Tommy. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3 Raparigas na Cidade  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Constance Bennett, Joan Bennett and Virginia Bruce were initially announced for the roles eventually played by Joan Blondell, Binnie Barnes and Janet Blair. See more »

Quotes

Wilburforce Puddle, hotel manager: A dead body in the hotel! What will the morticians think?
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Missed Opportunity
23 September 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

The director (Leigh Jason) keeps up the madcap pacing, while the scriptwriter comes up with a clever premise (hiding a body during a morticians convention). Then too, add some very capable performers, Blondell, Barnes, the incomparable Robert Benchley, and an extremely winsome Janet Blair. It looks promising, yet, the results are mixed at best, at least in my little book. It seems to me, a key element of screwball or madcap is flustered frustration. The classics—Bringing Up Baby (1939); Murder, He Says (1945), for example—get laughs from comedic exasperation. Petty annoyances keep thwarting a Grant or a MacMurray as they try to accomplish their goals, whether catching a big cat or escaping a deranged family. We laugh at the way everything seems to work against them, in a light-hearted way, of course. But it's that sense of comedic frustration, mounting over time and petty adversity that carries the momentum.

Now, there's a rich source of frustration here with getting the body out of the hotel. One problem is that the focus switches back and forth too often among the players, so that the crucial sense of comedic exasperation is dissipated among Blondell, Howard, the cleaning ladies and the police chief. Note that the one scene that really works, the poker-playing skit, keeps the focus on Howard and his mounting frustration in trying to get away. In short, the movie suffers because there's no one person (a Grant or a MacMurray) to identify with as he or she encounters the series of petty plot adversities. Thus, a key element of comedic continuity is lost, as, for example, when the cleaning ladies booze it up, an amusing but unconnected event. Add to that, Howard's limitations as a comedic performer and the really unfortunate casting of an inapt Hugh O'Connell as the police chief. In fact, O'Connell's role turns out to be much bigger than expected and really requires the flustered antics of an expert performer, say, a Donald McBride or a James Burke, familiar cop faces from that era.

Anyway, the movie does have its compensations, especially the clever twist ending. I'm just sorry that so many promising elements produce such a generally mild result.


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