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Monday, March 23, 2015

LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT (1933)

Pre-Code meller has Barbara Stanwyck playing gun moll to Lyle Talbot & his gang of bank robbers. She plays up to the armed guard while the boys take their positions. The unlikely ruse gets her quickly arrested, but just as quickly released when public crusader (and childhood pal) Preston Foster defends her. Grateful to the guy, she fesses up . . . and goes to jail for her honesty. Not a bad first act. But the script stops making any sense after this, with a wayward secret letter; a botched jail break by her former gang; a duplicate prison passkey; and a panicked gun shot to resolve all outstanding issues. There’s some nice glistening cinematography from John Seitz, making a rare visit to the Warners lot, but nobody bothered to see if the pieces would fit together.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: The unlikely co-directors, low-budget specialist Howard Bretherton and A-lister William Keighley (well, B+ guy), were just off THE MATCH KING/’32 (Keighley’s debut) a superb fact-inspired con man’s tale with Warren William in probably his best role and a great look from talented, little known lenser Robert Kurrle who died young.

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