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THREE WISE GIRLS (director: William Beaudine; screenwriters: story by Wilson Collison/Robert Riskin/Agnes Christine Johnston; cinematographer: Teddy Tetzlaff ; editor: Jack Dennis; music: ; cast: Jean Harlow (Cassie Barnes), Mae Clarke (Gladys Kane), Marie Prevost (Dot), Walter Byron (Jerry Dexter), Andy Devine (Chauffeur), Jameson Thomas (Arthur Phelps), Marcia Harris (Landlady), Natalie Moorhead (Ruth), Lucy Beaumont (Mrs. Barnes, Cassie’s Mother), Kathrin Clare Ward (Mrs. Kane), Walter Miller (Store manager), Robert Dudley (Lem – the Druggist), Armand Kali (Andre); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Cohn; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Columbia); 1932)
This was the film Harlow proved she can carry a film on her own.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

William Beaudine(“Ten Who Dated”/”Jail Busters”/”Up in Smoke”) directs this sappy melodrama starring Jean Harlow. It’s based on a story by Wilson Collison, and is weakly written by Robert Riskin and Agnes Christine Johnston. This was the film Harlow proved she can carry a film on her own and became a big star.

Making $15 a week as a soda jerk in a small town wasn’t good enough for Cassie Barnes (Jean Harlow), who goes to NYC to make some real money. She hopes to meet there her childhood friend Gladys Kane (Mae Clarke), who landed a well-paying model job at Andre’s (Armand Kali) exclusive French dress shop. Meanwhile she rooms with man-hungry hometown girl Dot O’Brien (Marie Prevost). When Cassie is sexually harassed at her luncheonette job, she’s rescued by a drunk, the wealthy bon vivant Jerry Dexter (Walter Byron), and begins a tentative romance with him until she discovers he’s married.

Gladys is happy to meet the straight-shooter Cassie, and gets her a job in her workplace as a model. She also introduces her to her sugar daddy, the wolfish married banker, Arthur Phelps (Jameson Thomas). Meanwhile Dot has designs on Jerry’s Irish chauffeur (Andy Devine).

How the three small town girls overcome the perils of life in the big city for single women and make out romantically and career-wise, fuels the romantic comedy. If Harlow wasn’t in it, the film would have been a real stinker.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”