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Toni Gerard lands in New York with 38 cents to her name and is befriended by fortune teller Madame Zenobia and a neighboring shooting gallery owner. Toni is smitten with Brad, a lawyer/suitor to Jo, one of Zenobia's "clients." When Zenobia is slightly injured, Toni takes her place and uses her newly found influence to meet Brad, and break up the budding romance between him and Jo. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Indian routine--very bad Martins in apartment! Madame Zenobia
"The Crystal Ball" is an enjoyable but flawed movie. It begins with Toni Gerard (Paulette Goddard) needing a place to stay and she is taken in my Madame Zenobia (Gladys George). Madame Zenobia is a phony fortune teller but she has a soft spot for Toni. Later, when Zenobia is hurt, Toni feels indebted and offers to cover for her--dressing up in her fortune teller garb and duping stupid people. However, at the same time, Toni notices a handsome guy, Brad (Ray Milland) and decides to use her Madame Zenobia persona to her advantage. And, throughout the film, she switches back and forth from herself to this persona--and hoping to hook Brad without his finding out she is BOTH women.
So why didn't I love the film? I guess I've never been a big Paulette Goddard fan--and her Indian bit was among the stupidest and limpest routines I've seen in a long time. It's not because her pretending to be an American Indian was offensive (which it was) but because it was done so badly!! But, on the other hand, the story was light and sweet. It also featured an incredibly funny routine that ran on for some time involving the Martins and their apartment. I don't want to say more about that--just see it and laugh at the complications that ensue from one of Toni's 'little lies'! Cute and worth a look.
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