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Ladies They Talk About (1933)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 4 February 1933 (USA)
Attractive Nan, member of a bank-robbery gang, goes to prison thanks to evangelist Dave Slade...who loves her.


Brown Holmes (screen play), William McGrath (screen play) | 3 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Nan Taylor
Preston Foster ... David Slade (as Preston S. Foster)
Lyle Talbot ... Don
Dorothy Burgess ... Susie
Lillian Roth ... Linda
Maude Eburne ... Aunt Maggie
Ruth Donnelly ... Noonan
Harold Huber ... Lefty Simons
Robert McWade ... District Attorney Walter Simpson


Gun moll Nan Taylor, caught after an otherwise successful bank robbery, falls for radio crusader David Slade and confides her guilt to him. Much to her surprise, he turns her in. As a "new fish" at San Quentin, Nan fits right in, but won't see Slade, who still loves her. Then she learns that her former partners in crime, Don and Dutch, are on the other side of the wall in the men's section...and have an escape plan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll talk, too, when you learn the real truth about "Ladies They Talk About." (Print Ad- Winthrop News, ((Winthrop Minn.)) 23 February 1933)


Crime | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Women in Prison See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The car used in the bank holdup is a 1926 Cadillac Series 314. 27,771 were made. Because of this, the are not all that rare, so in excellent condition, at auction in 2017, and example as seen in this film can fetch around $60,000 - although rare examples with upscale custom coachwork can bring over $100,000. Original MSRP was $3,000 to $5,500 ($41,000 - $75,400 in 2017) depending on the body used. See more »


While she waits for her co-conspirators to break through the wall in her cell, Nan is shown starting the gramophone twice. See more »


Susie: Say, there isn't any punishment bad enough for you!
Nan Taylor: Yeah? Well, being penned up here with a daffodil like you comes awful close.
See more »


Version of Lady Gangster (1942) See more »


Are You Lonesome Tonight?
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by Lou Handman
Lyrics by Roy Turk
Played as background music often as the love theme
See more »

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User Reviews

Sinning Stanwyck Sizzles
7 September 2004 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

The hard-boiled dames locked up at San Quentin State Penitentiary are some of the LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT.

Barbara Stanwyck stars in this very enjoyable pre-Code crime drama which takes a Hollywood look at women's lives behind bars. The acting is strictly of the ham variety, with a few histrionics, some heart-string tugging and a surprisingly large dollop of comedy thrown in. Some of the plot developments are absolutely ludicrous, but the viewer should never get bored.

Stanwyck is terrific as the female member of a small-time gang of crooks. Prison gives her a chance to get really tough in order to deal with her situation, but the audience always knows that just a few moments with the right man will have her (rather unconvincingly) melting like butter. Whether brawling with a vicious inmate, assisting in an escape attempt, or going gunning for the guy she thinks betrayed her, Stanwyck is always right on the money for entertainment value.

Three female costars give Stanwyck some great support in the prison scenes. Lillian Roth, as the lighthearted inmate who befriends Barbara, nearly steals the show with her perky personality; she gives the movie one of its brightest moments when she croons 'If I Could Be With You' to a fan photo of comic Joe E. Brown. Frowzy Maude Eburne is a hoot as a bawdy former madam who likes to reminisce about her old 'beauty parlor' from the comfort of her rocking chair. Good-natured Ruth Donnelly is a nice addition, in a small role, as an Irish matron with a big white parrot.

Preston Foster, as a reform revivalist who remembers Stanwyck from their childhood together in Benicia, California, gives an earnest performance, stalwart & steady. Lyle Talbot and Harold Huber appear as members of Stanwyck's gang. Elderly Robert McWade makes the most of his performance as Los Angeles' wily District Attorney.

Movie mavens will spot some fine character actors appearing unbilled: rotund DeWitt Jennings as a cagey police detective; Helen Ware as the no-nonsense prison head matron; Madame Sul-Te-Wan as Mustard, the sassy prisoner who's terrified of parrots; Robert Warwick as San Quentin's stern warden. And that's dear Mary Gordon who appears for only a few scant seconds as a laughing white-haired inmate in the Visiting Room.

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