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Thursday, September 24, 2009

SADIE MCKEE (1934)

In this standard M-G-M vehicle, Joan Crawford may be a cook’s daughter, but that doesn’t stop three men (a wastrel & two millionaires) from chasing her right from the opening credits. It’s the usual shopgirl’s fantasy, and damned if the old formula doesn’t still work. Gene Raymond is the weakling who sings ‘All I Do The Whole Day Thru Is Dream Of You;’ Edward Arnold is the dipsomaniac fat-cat whom she marries out of spite (and then cures); and Franchot Tone is the ‘right’ man for her if she’d only let her guard down. Clarence Brown helms smoothly and gets an unusually natural perf out of Joan, she certainly looks her best here, even if the story plays out with all the depth & believability of the slick magazine fiction it’s adapted from. In two or three years, this sort of product would inevitably harden and become lacquered & lifeless (especially @ M-G-M), but try and get a copy of POSSESSED/’31* to see Crawford, Brown & lenser Oliver Marsh make a 14 carat beauty of this sort of thing.

DOUBLE-BILL: *As mentioned, POSSESSED.  But be careful, Joan made two films called POSSESSED - 1931 & 1947.  As is always the case with Crawford, go early!

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