Archive for August 5th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(USA 1933 76m) DVD1

The sweetheart of the nightshift 

p  Ray Griffith  d  Alfred E.Green  w  Gene Markey, Kathryn Scola  story  Darryl F.Zanuck  ph  James Von Trees  md  Leo F.Forbstein  art  Anton Grot

Barbara Stanwyck (Lily Powers), George Brent (Courtland Trendholm), Donald Cook (Ned Stevens), Alphonse Ethier (Adolf Cragg), Margaret Lindsay (Ann Carter), Arthur Hohl (Ed Sipple), John Wayne (Jimmy McCoy Jnr), Henry Kolker (J.P.Carter), Douglass Dumbrille (Brody), Robert Barrat (Nick Powers), Theresa Harris (Chico), Nat Pendleton (Stolvich), Edward Van Sloan (Jameson),

A legendary pre-code melodrama, and one of the films – along with The Story of Temple Drake and the sadly now lost Convention City – that helped bring about the wrath of the Hays Code crackdown of 1934.  I first saw the film back in the early nineties on Channel 4, in the 72 minute general release version which was the only one thought to survive.  An even hotter 76m version had always been whispered of being shown pre-release and then shelved as it was too hot, but it was only in the last decade that it was quite accidentally found and restored and shown as one of the most sizzling films of its era. 

            Stanwyck plays Lily, grown up daughter of a drunken dive owner who is expected to chat up the patrons as well as serve them beer.  She’s been desperate to get out for years, and finally, when the place is burned down and her father killed, she escapes to New York by stowing away on a freight train.  Once there, she sets her sights on the top of a famous business skyscraper, and starts at the bottom with the express intention of sleeping her way to the top.  She makes her way up from humble office boy through the ranks to office managers to even executive hotshots, prior to getting her hooks into the new company chairman, who promptly spoils her rotten with all the jewels and luxuries she could possibly want.  However, when he’s indicted due to a discrepancy in the bank’s accounts, she refuses to give back the luxuries to pay off his debts. (more…)

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