Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sadie McKee

(1934, USA, 93m, b/w)
d Clarence Brown p Lawrence Weingarten sc John Meehan ph Oliver T. Marsh ed Hugh Wynn ad Cedric Gibbons m William Axt cast Joan Crawford, Gene Raymond, Franchot Tone, Esther Ralston, Edward Arnold, Earl Oxford, Leo G. Carroll, Jean Dixon, Akim Tamiroff

Abandoned by her deadbeat boyfriend once they hit the big city, Crawford takes to nightclub dancing in a skimpy outfit and snares herself a millionaire, useful to spite childhood chum (soon real-life husband) Tone, now a smug lawyer who likes the way she’s filled out. Joan gets lots of jewels and a husband too drunk to bother her, but she’s quite misjudged as a gold-digger, of course, and steps up when her husband needs her. As well as fatal alcoholism, the movie covers prostitution, TB, class warfare and a hint of women’s lib, but it’s a rickety concoction, frequently grinding to a halt for musical numbers (the trundlebed of dancing girls is quite a sight) whilst Joan neatly sidesteps all moral quandries. Never mind – this is a thoroughbred show, be she in a pinny or a sparkling bikini, or at her best taking tea in one of Adrian’s more outrageously avant-garde creations.

© Time Out Film Guide

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