Socially-conscious banker Thomas Dickson faces a crisis when his protégé is wrongly accused for robbing the bank, gossip of the robbery starts a bank run, and evidence suggests Dickson's wife had an affair...all in the same day.
Jerry Strong is the son of a rich businessman, but wants to be a painter. He hires Kay Arnold, a good girl with a bad past, as a model. They fall in love, and plan to get married. But Jerry's parents raise strong objections. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Capra later wrote that he was so smitten with the young Barbara Stanwyck at the time, he would have asked her to marry him if they both had been free at the time. See more »
When Jerry and Kay are out on the roof at night, the stars are twinkling in the background, but at one point the stars that should be behind Kay (i.e., not visible) are superimposed on her face. See more »
23 year old Barbara Stanwyck became a leading film star in 1930 with the release of LADIES OF LEISURE, after having starred in two flops in 1929. This is a very slender story of a good time girl who falls in love with a millionaire's son who basically is just interested in her as a model for a painting he wants to do. Given how free-wheeling and blunt most early talkies were on morality, this movie is surprisingly discreet about Stanwyck's character's past. We are supposed to read into the story she's a prostitute (or more accurately, a former mistress) - but in her first scene she is fleeing a yacht party that's too risqué for her!! Stanwyck rings honesty out of a cardboard script and she's got good support from three second-tier silent stars who are quite good in talkies - Ralph Graves as the object of her affection, Marie Prevost as her wisecracking, less prudish pal, and especially Lowell Sherman as Graves' drunken buddy who is very open to being Stanwyck's next sugar daddy yet the best scene is the confrontation being Stanwyck and Graves' mother, superbly played by a somewhat unsung character actress, Nance O'Neil.
The movie's minor fame today rests on it being Stanwyck's first screen success and an early hit for director Frank Capra yet Capra's direction is rather dull and often awkward and the movie is very badly edited with some scenes conspicuously made up of different takes with shot angles and acting rhythms off among other giveaways (to say nothing of the scene where Graves answers the phone and says "Hello" way before the receiver is anywhere near his mouth!!) As mentioned by another reviewer, a "silent" version of the film was also shot (the smaller studios like Columbia were still making silent versions of some of their films up to 1931 for the ever dwindling number of movie theaters that were still not wired for sound), I don't know anything about the silent version being available on video and not the sound film, possibly the silent version fell into public domain and that's why that version alone is on tape, however the sound version still exists and was shown on American Movie Classics in the early 1990's back when that channel actually showed classic movies. Turner Classic Movies, on the other hand, has so many MGM and Warner Bros. films at their disposal they hardly need to go elsewhere for films so it's not likely they will bother to pick up rights to this movie from Columbia. I wouldn't be surprised, however, one day to see it and a number of other early Capra talkies together in a boxed DVD set given his legend as a director.
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