Saturday 22 March 2008

Our Blushing Brides (1930)

After Our Dancing Daughters came Our Modern Maidens and now it's Our Blushing Brides. With the years of release being 1928, 1929 and 1930 respectively, you could be forgiven for thinking they were made back to back but this was the era when stars built up their filmographies as fast as supporting actors, so there are plenty of other films dotted in between. However the ladies remain consistent: Joan Crawford is the star of all three, with Anita Page backing her up. Dorothy Sebastian only missed the middle one. Oh, and there's one huge difference here: this one's a sound film.

Here, the trio work at Jardine's department store where they have a knack for attracting the eyes of the family whose name hangs above the front door. Writing the logic tree of the relationships is far more awkward than drawing a diagram, but I'll give it a try. Crawford plays Gerry March who models lingerie and gets chased by Robert Montgomery as Tony Jardine; Page is Connie Blair who works on the perfume counter has been romancing Tony's brother David, played by Raymond Hackett; and Sebastian is Franky Daniels who doesn't get a lot of male customers in the blanket department but still catches the eye of John Miljan as Marty Sanderson. Whew.

Our Dancing Daughters was a real peach of a silent movie, giving us something new and making Joan Crawford a star in the process. Our Modern Maidens was a pale shadow, running over a lot of the same ground but with only a fraction of the style. Luckily this one is a vast improvement over its predecessor though it isn't a patch on the first. At least there's a different story this time, though it's hardly a happy one. The three girls land their men, but don't quite get what they expect.

I'm not sure what the moral is. Surely it can't be that women trying to land wealthy men is fine but wealthy men not being honest isn't. Then again this is the Hollywood that put the word 'gold diggers' into a series of movie titles. The last ten seconds of the film notwithstanding, nobody wins. Even the only really decent person in the entire film, played by Edward Brophy, doesn't win either. Maybe that's the point. Life sucks and everyone in it sucks, but there's ten seconds at the end where everything's joyous.

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