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Smarty (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 19 May 1934 (USA)
Vicki Wallace (Joan Blondell) takes great pleasure in teasing her husband,Tony Wallace (Warren William), who takes no pleasure at all in being teased and it isn't long before he ups and ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

F. Hugh Herbert (screen play), Carl Erickson (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Blondell ... Vicki Wallace / Thorpe
Warren William ... Tony Wallace
Edward Everett Horton ... Vernon Thorpe
Frank McHugh ... George Lancaster
Claire Dodd ... Anita
Joan Wheeler Joan Wheeler ... Mrs. Bonnie Durham
Virginia Sale ... Edna - Vicki's Maid
Leonard Carey ... Tilford - Tony's Butler
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Storyline

Vicki Wallace (Joan Blondell) takes great pleasure in teasing her husband,Tony Wallace (Warren William), who takes no pleasure at all in being teased and it isn't long before he ups and clips her on the chin. Vicki's friend and attorney, Vernon Thorpe (Edward Everett Horton), secures a divorce for her, and Vicki and Vernon are soon married. Vicki's yen for wearing revealing clothes and a penchant for inviting ex-husband Tony to dinner soon provokes the easily-provoked Vernon into belting one on her himself. She goes to Tony's apartment, where Tony is entertaining Bonnie (Joan Wheeler), who is not all that entertained by the presence of Vicki, especially after Vicki shows every intent of moving in and staying. Vernon shows up with George (Frank McHugh) and Anita (Claire Dood), evidently along so F. Hugh Herbert's lines can be spread among five players instead of three, and Vicki more or less tells Vernon that as long as she is going to be slugged by a husband, she will just go back to ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hit Me Again See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play opened first in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on 1 October 1927. It was retitled "Funny Face" for its New York run off-Broadway beginning 22 November 1927. See more »

Quotes

Vicki Wallace Thorpe: [Vicki wearing a backless dress. In walks Tony and Nita] There are two beastly hooks here I can't fix.
[Nita tries to help]
Vicki Wallace Thorpe: Well, Tony, come here and let me see you.
[to Nita]
Vicki Wallace Thorpe: Oh, your hands are just like ice. Tony, you do it for me. Aren't you going to kiss me? It's all right, you know.
[to Nita]
Vicki Wallace Thorpe: His hands are always so nice and warm.
[to Tony]
Vicki Wallace Thorpe: Thanks. You've always been a great hooker-upper.
See more »

Connections

References The Public Enemy (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Say Good-Night
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Performed by the Vitaphone Orchestra
Played when Vernon is viewing the models
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Smarty - unguarded look at sadistic male fantasies
13 April 2011 | by tonypattiSee all my reviews

Intended as titillation but ending as a shocking and sick attempt to cater to male fantasies of female submission, this movie is worth watching for a few good reasons besides the ultimate failure of the theme to amuse. Claire Dodd as the knowing, mocking friend who collaborates in Blondell's teases. Many sharp little lines that set the stage for excruciating jealousy, a theme most often clumsily handled in film. Joan Blondell, who is too lovable for her part.

The cuckold scenario common to many drawing room comedies of this period is made unusually explicit by an actual divorce and remarriage, which leaves us disconcertingly free of all doubt as to the consummation of sexual relations. Blondell's character, a woman intended to be the paragon of teasing sexuality, is never fully understood by anyone involved, which is good, because it would have led to even graver extremes of predatory female sexuality. She tries to play her character lightly, with a teasing innocence, and they ignore the sharp edge of the tease that tears the heart of the male lead apart.

By the time Blondell dons the ultra-revealing dress that is constantly on the verge of exposing her famous breasts, the film stumbles through scene after scene of impotent male rage conflated with lust as Blondell fights to expose herself in the outfit. Only Proust himself could do justice to the heady combination of jealousy, exhibitionism, and lust she leads her ex-husband through, all while married to her new husband.

While the complexity and taboo nature in this weave of female exploitation with male jealousy are beyond most Hollywood movies of any time, the movie settles for a violent end and a shocking submission that is entirely the creation of male fantasy and a woman's compliance with it. Many women, unable to see this from the perspective of male lust, will simply be confounded by it. Most men will be repulsed by the unadorned openness of it, and will be tempted to blame the woman for complying with male fantasy.

If this film were remade today the title would be changed to the more appropriate "Slutty." It is an unusually unguarded look at the contradictory nature of the male invention of the fantasy of the slut.


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