Based on Polly Adler's best-selling autobiography about her life in the Roaring Twenties as a legendary Madam. The movie follows Polly's life from an immigrant worker to becoming friend and...
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Based on Polly Adler's best-selling autobiography about her life in the Roaring Twenties as a legendary Madam. The movie follows Polly's life from an immigrant worker to becoming friend and confidante of underworld bigwigs, social leaders, businessmen, politicians, writers and artists. Written by
Shelley Winters plays Polly Adler, real-life New York City cathouse proprietress in the 1930s who fell inadvertently into the sex-for-sale business after seeking help from a big-time bootlegger following a rape and an eviction. Although adapted from Adler's (ghostwritten) autobiography, this entertainingly tawdry movie plays more like an adult version of TV's "Playhouse 90" rather than a salacious expose. Dotted with 'shocking' words ("I'm a WHORE!"), and saddled with a bland production design so generic it's often difficult to get a reading on the characters, it isn't any wonder the only aspect of the film to survive the years is its title tune, written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Winters is fine in the latter portion of the plot (and does well with a teary telephone scene in the final reel), but she's hopeless when depicting the more demure Polly in her early years. Raquel Welch makes one of her first movie appearances as one of Polly's girls (she's usually found hovering on the edges of group shots), while Cesar Romero plays gangster "Lucky" Luciano as if he were running for office. ** from ****
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