This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War. Ethan Wilkins is a poor and honest man who ministers to the human soul, while his son ... See full summary »
Sailor Ted meets at the Lonely Hearts Club of his friend Gunny's wife, Jenny, a girl, Nora Paige, and falls in love. Nora wants to become a dancer on Broadway. Ted rescues the Pekinese of ... See full summary »
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Detective Guy Johnson's client, Willie Heywood is framed for murder and while Guy hides him so he can catch the real killer, both of them are nabbed by the police, tried, convicted and ... See full summary »
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During WWI Bill Pettigrew, a naive young Texan soldier is sent to New York for basic training. He meets worldly wise actress Daisy Heath when her car nearly runs him over. Daisy agrees to ... See full summary »
Mary, a writer working on a novel about a love triangle, is attracted to her publisher. Her suitor Jimmy is determined to break them up; he introduces Mary to the publisher's wife without ... See full summary »
Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the ... See full summary »
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A Parisian sewer worker longs for a rise in status and a beautiful wife. He rescues a girl from the police, lives with her in a barren flat on the seventh floor, and then marches away to ... See full summary »
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Mary and Larry are are a modestly successful skating team. Shortly after their marriage, Mary gets a picture contract, while Larry is sitting at home, out of work. To prove that he can accomplish things on his own, he leaves Hollywood and convinces a former partner to put on an ice revue in Canada. The show is a huge success, but it makes it impossible for him to be with his wife, but the studio boss has a wonderful idea. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Widely considered the worst film Joan Crawford made at MGM (it must have been a low point for James Stewart too, yet it forms no part of the lore about his long career) this is a real curiosity. It has the sort of B-movie plot Sonja Henie was getting in her hugely successful skating pictures at Fox, but this one is done with an A-budget. And because the stars can't skate, it is essentially two pictures in one -- a skating 'spectacular' featuring anonymous athletes which prefigures the ice-skating arena shows we know so well, and a soap opera about a two career couple who can't make their marriage work.
Forget trying to figure out how a major film from the most meticulous of studios could be such a hodgepodge. Simply go with it and happily register its many lapses in taste and logic. In the early scenes Crawford is actually more relaxed and likable than in other pictures from this period, though this changes once her character signs a movie contract. The idea of Crawford playing a star makes perfect sense and one wonders why no one thought of it before. At last her artificiality and posturing has a logical explanation. (But can someone explain why some of Max Steiner's score from GONE WITH THE WIND is played during Joan's drunk scene?) And in gorgeous three-strip Technicolor she looks at once terrifically glamorous and hard as nails. This hardness and the fact that it exposed her age is surely the reason she never gets a color closeup. And though she is a small part of the color portion of the film, she manages to wear no less than three Adrian outfits, the most striking being a brilliant green ensemble with gold and silver embroidery (the 18th Century court outfits the extras wear must have been recycled from MARIE ANTOINETTE).
Assuming Crawford had a choice, why did she do this film? To branch out to a broader family audience than she had before? To cash in on a popular box office fad? Or, at a time when Jeanette Macdonald was still considered Louis B. Mayer's favorite, did Crawford relish getting the Technicolor operetta treatment? Joan took singing lessons for years (her thin, unpleasant voice is briefly heard) and Macdonald had already been in one color film and was about to do another at a time when Technicolor carried the prestige of novelty and expense. Whatever the reason, it must have caused general hilarity in Hollywood -- one can imagine Billy Haines calling up George Cukor to chuckle over the latest bomb Joan had been saddled with. Only Sonja Henie can have been jealous over this turkey.
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