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The Grand Dame (1931)

An uncouth gangster's moll attempts to break into high society, but things don't go as expected for anyone involved.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Peggy O'Rourke
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Storyline

Peggy is a gangster's moll from New Jersey, living a pampered life in Manhattan with three French maids. Blue bloods from England have invited her to tea this afternoon; she's looking forward to her initiation into high society. She takes a Rolls to a club where she's greeted by a team of fakers who plan to sell her a membership in an exclusive but fictive club - for $25,000. As Peggy tries to be refined, will the grifters succeed in the con? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

May 1931 (USA)  »

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(Turner library print)

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(Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

The first confirmed and credited film role by actress Patsy Kelly. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Patsy Kelly Makes A Splash In Her First Film
6 September 2010 | by See all my reviews

Patsy Kelly burst on the scene at 21 loaded with talent and presence. This is amply evidenced by her debut film, in which she is already a star. She demonstrates both her physical comedy abilities, with numerous prat falls and other mishaps, as well as a bit of her talent for delivering sarcastic one-liners. She has a naturalness and sense of timing surprising in one so young and inexperienced.

The short film is packed with laughs from start to finish. Miss Kelly plays a low-life of the worst kind, a gangster moll who has become rich and now has servants, fine clothes and highfalutin ideas.

Her manners, though, remain those of the most uncultured boor. Similar to Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies, who thinks he is now a worldly millionaire playboy, Kelly demonstrates even less sophistication as she tries to enter "legitimate" high society, with hilarious results. She wipes her nose on the back of her hand, drinks coffee from the saucer, and licks off her monocle as she tries to act snooty and impress her hosts.

There is even a plot twist stuffed into these laugh-packed nine minutes. Not to mention a pre-Code scene of Miss Kelly nude in the bathtub. You don't see much, but she has never been more attractive.

The directing is surprisingly good for just a little short. Things move rapidly, the camera angles are interesting, it is well lit, and everything fits into place perfectly with no loose edges or flaws of any kind. The timing and delivery of the lines is of the first caliber from all the actors without exception.

No wonder Patsy Kelly went on to become so popular, with a start like this!


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