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What a surprise. I hadn't seen this film since it played on Million Dollar Movies in Los Angeles in the 50's. I is a rare comedy drama with a bit of music thrown in for good measure. It stars Gail Russell in a role that shows off exactly what she was capable of. A delightful romantic lead and so beautiful as the lead character, Eileen. The cast around her couldn't be better. It has Claire Trevor, Ann Dvorak, Jane Wyatt, Adolphe Menjou and Billie Burke. It is a lost film and can hardly ever be seen anywhere. I got a copy from a collector and was amazed how well it holds up. Four girls who work in a department store adopt a mom and dad so they can share a mansion on Long Island to trap rich husbands. A chestnut of a plot to hang some wonderful performances on. It is a total delight and is a film you should search out. Gail made this film just prior to Angel and the Badman and it is no wonder she was selected to star as the Angel opposite John Wayne. Has there ever been a more beautiful girl on the screen? If there has been, I have never seen her.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The end of the war means the end of the working women dominating the work force. Struggling to make ends meet, several shop girls decide to team together with the crotchety older floor walker and a sweet but dotty retiring saleslady in renting a mansion and pretending to be a family in order to find eligible rich men. This starts very light-hearted and semi-comic, giving the typical Joan Blondell/Ann Sheridan wise- cracking tough girls to the soft looking but possibly hard as nails Gail Russell, Claire Trevor, Ann Dvorak and Jane Wyatt, with silent movie star Billie Burke and suave Adolph Menjou pretending to be their parents. What seems like an ideal fraud turns dramatic in the second half (after the usual comical complications about these unrelated people learning to adjust with living with each other) with some of the girls finding out that what they are after isn't really what is destined for them, some finding true love, the others finding heartbreak. This is a difficult film to locate, and ends up being a mixed bag, but it's worth the wait just to see some silent footage featuring "Glinda" herself, Billie Burke, long before she became the queen of the dotty society matrons and the sequined good witch in "The Wizard of Oz". This was a re-teaming for Burke, Menjou and director/producer Andrew Stone whose previous film, "Hi Diddle Diddle", focused more on farce and less on drama. It is surprising that considering other films that focused on unrelated people living in a "commune" that this wasn't accused of having communist sympathies. That gives this one the opportunity for better character development, but often throughout, it feels like it's suffering from a split personality.
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