(director: Victor Fleming; screenwriters: from the novel “A Woman Called Cheap” by Oliver Jeffries (David O’Selznick)/P.J. Wolfson; cinematographer: George Folsey; editor: Margaret Booth; music: Herbert Stothart/music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II); “Ev’rything’s Been Done Before” (music by Jack King, lyrics by Edwin Knopf and Harold Adamson; “Hear What my Heart is Saying” (music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Harod Adamson).; cast: Jean Harlow (Mona Leslie), Franchot Tone (Bob Harrison), William Powell (Ned Riley), Louise Henry(Loise), Allan Jones (Allan), Robert Light (Paul Mercer), Henry Stephenson (Col. H. Harrison), May Robson (Granny Leslie), Ted Healy (Smiley), Nat Pendleton (Blossom), Rosalind Russell (Josephine Mercer), Allen Farina (Gold Dust), Man Mountain Dean (Himself)Mickey Rooney (Eddie); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David O’Selznick; MGM; 1935)
“A predictable but enjoyable romantic comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A glossy melodrama. After shot as a melodrama music was added, with Harlow’s voice dubbed by Virginia Verrill. It’s based on the life of torch singer Libby Holman and the mysterious suicide of her tobacco heir boyfriend. It was written by MGM producer David O’Selznick under the alias of Oliver Jeffries, in his novel “A Woman Called Cheap.” Director Victor Fleming (“Red Dust”/”Gone With The Wind”) gets a decent script from P.J. Wolfson and terrific performances from Jean Harlow, William Powell and Franchot Tone, and it results in a predictable but enjoyable romantic comedy.
Broadway performer Mona Leslie (Jean Harlow) is jailed for reckless driving while intoxicated and her granny (May Robson) gets the sports agent Ned Riley (William Powell), who has a crush on her, to bail her out to appear at a charity benefit for S.A,M.L. It turns out the bogus organization is called the Society for the Admiration of Mona Leslie and its one founding member is the smitten millionaire playboy Bob Harrison (Franchot Tone).
Bob woos Mona and despite engaged to society girl Jo Mercer (Rosalind Russell), from his same same circle of elites, he marries the lower-class actress. His haughty snob father (Henry Stephenson) disapproves.
Drunk and depressed when not received well by his society friends, Bob comes over late at night to Ned’s hotel room and catches Ned and Mona innocently drinking. When deemed too drunk to travel, Bob is given Ned’s bed to sleep. But soon awakens to kill himself with a shot to the head. The pic carries on like a soap opera, with Mona going back to work on the stage and turning down her million dollar widow’s inheritance in order for her father-in-law to give up trying to take control of the child. A happy ending ensues when Ned and Mona begin a romance.
REVIEWED ON 8/8/2016 GRADE: B