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SHOPWORN (director: Nicholas Grinde; screenwriters: story by Sarah Y. Mason/ Jo Swerling/Robert Riskin; cinematographer: Joseph Walker; editor: Gene Havlick; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff, Irving Bibo, Milan Roder; cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Kitty Lane), Regis Toomey (David Livingston), Zasu Pitts (Aunt Dot), Lucien Littlefield (Fred), Clara Blandick (Mrs. Helen Livingston), Robert Alden (Toby), Oscar Apfel (Judge Forbes), Maude Turner Gordon (Mrs. Thorne), Albert Conti (Andre Renoir); Runtime: 65; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Cohn; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Columbia); 1932)
Not even the likable Barbara Stanwyck can save this clunker.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An irritating melodrama, with just about nothing plausible. It tells of a mamma’s boy and his controlling snobby mother, who stops him from marrying a waitress because she’s too common for him. Director Nicholas Grinde (“Mountain Moonlight”/”Friendly Neighbors”/”Hitler — Dead or Alive”) has no idea how to handle the programmer, and co-writers Jo Swerling and Robert Riskin bring out the worse from Sarah Y. Mason‘s awful story. Not even the likable Barbara Stanwyck can save this clunker.

After her construction worker father dies in a dynamite explosion, Kitty Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) lives with her Aunt Dot (Zasu Pitts). Kitty gets a waitress job in the cheap diner, catering to the college crowd, where Dot works as a dishwasher for her unpleasant hubby Fred (Lucien Littlefield). At the diner Kitty meets the intense wealthy medical student David Livingston (Regis Toomey) and they fall in love–even if they can’t convince us of that because of their bad chemistry together. When David’s monster widowed mom (Clara Blandick) hears about it, she conspires with her sly friend, Judge Forbes (Oscar Apfel), to make sure there’s no marriage. In an incredulous scene, Kitty is sent to reform school–the State Home for the Regeneration of Females–for ninety days after accused by the untrustworthy judge of immorality. After her release, Kitty goes to NYC and in six years gains fame and fortune in the Follies. David is now a successful surgeon, who never married. When the famous actress Kitty visits David’s hometown, they reunite despite their past conflict. This time mom relents, as Kitty has improved her social status and convinced mom she has a good character.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”