The story of a dress and the effects it has on the women who wear it begs the question of where is O.Henry when he is needed. "Nude at Midnight", a new and daring Paris style creation is ... See full summary »
The story of a dress and the effects it has on the women who wear it begs the question of where is O.Henry when he is needed. "Nude at Midnight", a new and daring Paris style creation is worn by Gogo Mantaine to try and ensnare the Rajah of Kim-Kepore but he is attracted to Lisa, the girl who modeled the dress. Marion Parmelee dons the gown to charm her husband's retiring (as in quitting) boss, Patrick James Sullivan, into letting her husband, Jack Parmelee take over the business, but the boss' wife Nora, who really runs the business, has other ideas. The same model dress is worn by Betty Barnes, in an effort to attract her boss, lawyer Edgar Blevins, who is married to a dowdy wife, Cora, but the wife turns up wearing the same dress. Marta Jensen uses the dress to inveigle her reluctant sweetheart, Charlie Johnson into a marriage proposal. Since she also attracts the Rajah, her options expand. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WWL in New Orleans used to run the sprockets off this thing when I was a kid, and I always made sure to tune in. It seemed, to my naive and untrained eyes, clever and witty and glamorous--Lubitsch, even, for the Eisenhower Age. What can I say--I grew up in the swamps.
So cut to more than 30 years later and I finally see "Paris Model" once again. The shock starts with the credits: Marilyn Maxwell, at best a "B"-level actress, is billed over Paulette Goddard, who'd headlined some very big movies not that many years earlier. Poor Paulette even is called upon to refer to Maxwell in one scene--and, really, who'd go to a store looking for a "Marilyn Maxwell-type dress"? (I'm guessing that Maxwell, or perhaps a wealthy associate of hers, had some money in the production.) The shock continues as the credits continue, superimposed as they are over a somewhat seedy-looking blonde model. Clearly, this is going to be a really cheap film, and the name of Albert Zugsmith as producer verifies that quite explicitly. So does the screen credit that informs us that the apparently haute-couture gown of the title was the creation of "Junior Sophisticates, New York." (A couple of the other fashions in the show look Simplicity tacky.)
As another reviewer has noted, it's a "Tales of Manhattan"-type yarn showing the progress of an evening gown called Nude at Midnight from Paris original to thrift-store knockoff. From Paris to New York to the Midwest to L.A. it goes, but clearly we've never left the sound stage. The sets are small and rather cramped, and scenes supposedly set in large spaces, like Romanoff's restaurant, take place only in small corners that can only hold a few people. While the pace is adequate (director Green had been responsible for some big films, back in the day), the dialog tries for wit without getting very far, and some good actors are seen at, let's be kind here, less than optimal advantage. Eva Gabor, in the first segment, comes off best--she can do "coquettish" in her sleep and seems to be enjoying herself. The once-mighty Goddard tries to sparkle, but the photography does her no favors at all. Maxwell is generic, as she usually was, and Barbara Lawrence is adequate. The supporting actors are a surprisingly sturdy lot: Tom Conway (looking disinterested), Leif Ericson, Cecil Kellaway, a frail-looking Florence Bates in her final role, perennial male ingénue Robert Hutton, and even El Brendel as Lawrence's yumpin-yiminy dad. None of them get opportunities anywhere near their best roles, but at least they're there. So "Paris Model" can't be recommended to a casual viewer looking for wit and sparkle, but for movie buffs it offers a good deal of interest--even when much of that interest involves tut-tutting over how far into B-movie land the once-mighty have fallen.
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