WHO WEARS THE PANTS…


I’m going to steal, plagarize, imitate ( yeh, that’s the ticket… ) ~ …no, better yet: PAY HOMAGE to a feature from one of my favorite bloggers’ set-pieces: FRIDAY FOTO FOLLIES. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope my friend approves.

What Aurora over at ONCE UPON A SCREEN does, is post a lot of photos that illustrate a theme. She does all manner of these. Click on Audrey and see what I mean.

We have seen some of the most beautiful women in classic Hollywood wearing designs fit for a Queen…gowned by Edith Head, Irene, Givenchy, Orry-Kelly, Yves St. Laurent et al. But I’m a jeans and boots girl. Casual is my speed. I think slacks are the most comfortable, freeing thing to wear. Taking a page from Once Upon A Screen, my post is self~explanatory: WHO WEARS THE PANTS. Here are some of my favorite actresses in outfits either from a movie, photo~shoot or just lounging around. Some of you might think this look is very unfeminine. But you’d be wrong.

I’ll start with the Patron Mistresses of Pants…Dietrich and Hepburn. And Garbo. Can’t forget Garbo. Comfort Queens.

  
Dietrich                                                     Hepburn


Hepburn wears this beautiful smoking jacket lounging outfit in “Woman of the Year
( 1942 ) and it’s one of my absolute favorites.

  

Androgyny, much?

   
Top hat, white tail and tails. No one wears this better. Alright…if you must count Fred Astaire.

The Great Garbo

Ninotchka” “Anna Karenina” “Queen Christina” and for me, her greatest performance… “Camille” ~ Garbo reigned supreme in classic films of the silent and talkie era. Her mystique is unique. She wore a lot of exotic styles in her films and could carry them off. Not glamorous here, but I love her casual look:


Comfort over style

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Here are some other actresses wearing the pants off…pants.


When I was a kid and watched her in tv’s “Bewitched” I probably had little idea of the fabulous career she had as a leading character actress. My favorite performances of AGNES MOOREHEAD are “Dark Passage” “Caged” and “Magnificent Obsession.” She can cut you to the bone ( “Citizen Kane” ) ~ She wasn’t afraid to be what her character needed her to be. But she also could be a friend. Doesn’t Aggie look marvelously relaxed and youthful here?

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She didn’t care for the name, but ANN SHERIDAN was the Oomph Girl and with good reason; she had it in spades. She was Warner Bros’ glamor girl, but if they gave her half a chance, she showed ’em she could act. Whether comedy or drama, Sheridan could handle both with equal aplomb. She’s pictured here with her director Vincent Sherman, who did two pictures with her: “The Unfaithful” and “Nora Prentiss.” Look at those shades and the hair…do a pair of slacks look like it deters Vinnie? He’s at her feet. 

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Here’s my petite Force of Nature…the Queen, BETTE DAVIS. She built many a soundstage at Warner Bros. from the box office success of her films. Seeing her in pants was such an unusual thing because it’s all about dresses for women back then. I like her riding outfit in “Dark Victory.” For me, that look is prognosis positive. Oooh look, Cora Witherspoon who could play to the manor born or W.C. Fields’ wife. I also like Davis’ outfit in “The Great Lie” when she was keeping Mary Astor company while waiting for “their” baby to be born.

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CAROLE LOMBARD ~ 1930’s icon. She was much more than a screwball comedienne. See her in “Vigil in the Night” “In Name Only” or “Made for Each Other.” But gosh darn it, it’s “My Man Godfrey” and “Twentieth Century” that cements her in our memory almost ninety years later. Looks like she’s talking to the great Lubitsch and comfortable doing it. Could it be… or not to be?

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CLAUDETTE COLBERT could wear the hell out of clothes with that petite little figure of hers. ( Her wedding gown in “It Happened One Night” is to die for! ) She had a great career in film ( “The Palm Beach Story” “Midnight” and “Since You Went Away“…to name a few ) but look at her here at home, chilling out…just as you’d expect from Cleopatra.

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One of my all~time favorite movie stars is DORIS DAY. I am just over the silvery moon about her. Pretty nautical here in her decidedly 1940’s stylized look. What a career she’s had ( comedy/drama/sing/dance ) working with some of the great leading men in Hollywood like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, David Niven, Jack LemmonKirk Douglas…and three guys name Jim: Garner ~ Cagney ~ Stewart. She could also wear her clothes, without them wearing her, whether she’s Calamity Jane or a suburban housewife.  She could do anything. Really. 

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There she is, A girl’s best friend. The great EVE ARDEN who comes in a movie with five minutes of screen time and out she memorably exits, screen left. Here she is in her “Stagedoor” chill. The woman can wear anything. She’s as statuesque as a super model and as sharp as a laser beam. See “Mildred Pierce” if you need proof.

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GINGER ROGERS ~ She could do comedy, drama and dance her *** off. She can put on the glam with the best of ’em ( have you seen her outfits w/dance partner Fred Astaire? ) Doesn’t she look great in these wide legged pants? I always found her to be a natural onscreen.

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HARLOW in satin…is a dream. In slacks…sort of like you and me. I mean, if you and me were glamorous movie star bombshells being relaxed. My favorite films of hers are “Bombshell” and “Libeled Lady” and of course, “Dinner At Eight.” Harlow…you were gone too soon.

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This is my favorite look of IRENE DUNNE’s. She’s on set of “A Guy Named Joe.” She had a nice slacks outfit in “The Awful Truth” too. Never over the top, her talent is always under the radar.

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JENNIFER JONES looks rather pensive. A far cry from her “Portrait of Jennie” “Duel in the Sun” “Madame Bovary” looks. People blow hot or cold over Jones, but I think she’s a fine underrated actress able to exhibit wells of emotion. Her trying to retrieve her love letters from a burning fire brings me to tears. xoxoxo these pants and boots!

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JOANS ~

   

Blonde in the 30’s, brunette in the 40’s. The great underestimated JOAN BENNETT. She can fit any place: on safari or a scarlet street or be the mother of a bride. Yes her sister Constance is known as THE fashion plate. But little sister Joan’s not bad. She’s stylish as diamonds with attitude for days. Whew!!

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She looks like she stepped out of 2018 with those shades and jumpsuit. What can I say about her. No one wore clothes like her. They say no one loved being a movie star more than JOAN CRAWFORD. Well if you’re going to be good at something…

Her career spans decades. I’m partial to her Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce.” But she was good in “Rain“, “Daisy Kenyon” and with Gable. Hell, she’s a STAR!

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“THE LOOK”

You know how to whistle don’t you? LAUREN BACALL is worth whistling for. She was known as “The Look” in her modeling days, and boy she had it. She was never the frilly feminine type. Very tailored. Pants suit her, don’cha think? I like her in “Dark Passage” and “Written on the Wind.” I dunno…I kind of think she was never really given a chance to bloom as an actress. Perhaps not getting good scripts. Perhaps overshadowed by her more famous husband. Perhaps there was more to Life for her. In movies, she always seems down~to~earth, no nonsense; a little intimidating. If you approach her, you’d better bring it. 

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You can’t get more doe-like, more feminine than Loretta Young. Even in this staged photo shoot, she’s a vision. ( Pssst! See her strong performances in “The Stranger” and “Midnight Mary.” )

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For this flaming redhead, comedy or drama, gowns or slacks…LUCILLE BALL could do and wear it all with ease. Yeh, I love Lucy.

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This is MERLE OBERON playing George Sand in “A Song to Remember.” And I have to tell you, I’m floored by this costume. Isn’t it smart? Merle, a unique looking beauty, hasn’t made movies were so memorable other than the towering “Wuthering Heights.” ( I personally like her and Dana Andrews in “Night Song” ). My claim to fame is when I went to see the throngs of stars attend the premiere of “The Godfather” ( 1972 ) back in NYC, I saw Merle Oberon with Robert Wolders. Very few people were excited by seeing her. Boy, I was.

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One of my favorites…PAULETTE GODDARD walks with her beau, Charlie…swinging her shades. Looking sassy, stylish, comfortable and nonchalant. I understand her collection of jewels and paintings is unparalleled in Hollywood. Another actress with not a stellar filmography, her role in “The Women” is a standout. My friend Wendy writes a wonderful essay for my blog on Goddard I urge you to read.

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The Love Goddess is looking mighty casual here in a pair of slacks. Hell, I confess…I don’t care WHAT  RITA HAYWORTH  wears.

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MY STANY!!!!

These are my two favorite fotos of Stany. One she looks younger than one remembers her, and the other she’s so disheveled in “My Reputation” ( 1946 ), her hair and plaid jacket just kill me. 

    

But the theme is pants…

Her career is legendary. But get a load of that blouse, the belt, those leopard print shoes, her attitude. That’s BARBARA STANWYCK alright. See her hand in her pocket? Damn, she’s ready to kick ass, and she ain’t takin’ names either. Elegant.

     

Thank you all for perusing my Friday Foto Follies. I might try this again in the future with another theme I’ve gathered along my way. Once again, I tip my hat to Aurora over at Once Upon A Screen who can REALLY show that a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out her photo galleries by clicking on this photo of 40’s horror Queen, Evelyn Ankers:

…and this?  Oh…it’s just my indulgence. I’m an Evelyn Ankers fan:

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THE STRANGER ( 1946 )

 

LORETTA.I am new to LORETTA YOUNG. Well, not exactly. More accurately, I’ve had my eyes wide shut to her through most of my early classic film journey. ( I know, I know… ‘there are none so blind as those who cannot see.’ ) A young friend of mine ( KM-P ) from a land far far away, asked me if I had seen Loretta’s precode films. Uhhhmmm, not really. Late 30’s yeah, but not early. She suggested I start with her pre-code work. I since have. Holy cow, who knew!!!

Another friend texted me about an early film of Loretta’s she had taken out of the library and I was able to chime in as though I knew this fact all along. Well now I know. And now I wholeheartedly join a slew of bloggers to celebrate the career of fellow Capricorn, Loretta Young. ( She, January 6th

LORETTA YOUNG BLOGATHON ( II )

and I’m January 18th. Me and Cary Grant, that is ) for my first blogathon of 2016. ( Click on the banner above. ) Experiencing Young’s persona in her pre-code films ( Gaaaah! She had to be the most put upon movie heroine of the early 30’s: “She Had To Say Yes” ) helps springboard me to her later work. You know, seeing her evolution and all…

THE STRANGER ( I )

Alfred Hitchcock defines suspense as sharing information with the audience the movie’s characters don’t yet know. Orson Welles’ 1946 film THE STRANGER has got to be Suspense 101. ( Spoilers. )

THE STRANGER ( X ) THE STRANGER ( XI ) THE STRANGER ( XII )

  • Within the first three minutes we know Orson Welles is a Nazi
  • Within the first five minutes we know Orson Welles is a murderer
  • Within the first ten minutes we see Orson Welles marry Loretta Young

Young plays newlywed Mary Rankin and we watch her go from unknowing-to-knowing. We’re helpless as we see the scales ripped from her eyes. And because Youngs screen persona has basically been the nice girl, it becomes increasingly tough to watch her go through all this. She’s very good playing a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

THE STRANGER ( XIV ) THE STRANGER ( XIII )

Noah:  “Gee Mr. Wilson. You must be wrong. Mary wouldn’t fall in love with that kind of a man.”

Mr. Wilson: “I hope I am wrong Noah, but that’s the way it is. People can’t help who they fall in love with.”

Things go South for Young right after her honeymoon. Edward G. Robinson comes to town as Mr. Wilson, a sort of Van Helsing of Nazi hunters and he’s out for the big Kahuna…Welles. Welles’ character is not really that of a college history professor, but as Franz Kindler, Mastermind of the Final Solution. I love Robinson in this film. He’s so wonderfully down-to-earth, even-tempered and fraternal. He’s much more gentle with Young than Welles is. Eddie G. confides in her younger brother Noah, played engagingly by eighteen year old Richard Long ( of The Big Valley fame ) in only his second motion picture.

THE STRANGER ( XVI ) THE STRANGER ( XVII )

“Your sister’s a fine woman, Noah. But she must find out the kind of man she’s married to. Noah, we must arrange it so that she finds out for herself.”

But he is looking for a Nazi. And he’s anything but calm about that mission. She is a loving caring wife. When suspicion falls on Welles she comes to his defense, fiercely. The first chink in the armor of her marriage is her not being able to speak up about what she sees. Robinson picks that up:

THE STRANGER ( XXV )

“One thing’s certain. She knows nothing now. Nothing at all except that he didn’t want her to admit having seen someone she did see. I’d give some-
thing to know what explanation he’s making right now.”

Silencing the wife. Negating what she sees. Sounds like marriage to me. Oh he

THE STRANGER - EXPLANATIONS

explaaaaaains, alright. Welles does tell her the terrible horrible truth, wrapped in plausible lies. He’s killed her beloved dog. Noah calls it murder when he finds ol Red. Me too. Grrr!! She’s shocked and incredulous but convinces herself to believe him. I really can’t blame her. Youll get no Monday morning quarterbacking from this back-seat driving classic Cine Maven. Welles is a master manipulator.

THE STRANGER ( XXXI ) THE STRANGER ( XXXIII )

Young: “I meant it when I said ‘for better or for worse’.”

Welles: “Even to killing Red?”

Young: “You couldn’t. It was an accident.”

Welles: “No, I meant to kill him. Murder can be a chain Mary, one link leading to another ‘till it circles your neck. Red was digging into the grave of the man I killed.”

Young: “You killed him?”

Welles: “With these hands. The same hands that held you close to me.”

Welles is not an easy director for some to get through, try and try as they might. I like what Ive seen of his work so far. And you may like this film only because of Loretta Young. But its a pretty easy, straight-forward directing job from the boy genius.’ He shows us what he wants us to see. His character is one of darkness, so he’s often obscured in shadows or darkness, holding the camera on Loretta Young’s lovely face; rather than us watching him lie to her, we keep looking at her believing the lies.

Welles professor makes her complicit in his hiding. That was the devilishest thing of all with him. He keeps her really close to him. She willingly lies to protect him because she loves him. He’s teaching her to lie and deceive…until he can get away.  In the meantime, he ‘hides’ in this small-town of innocence. He ‘hides’ behind marrying the daughter of a Supreme Court judge. Diabolical. He uses love…her love, to bind her to him. Her cognitive dissonance is running high as we see her struggle to convince herself he’s a good guy. When Robinsons Mr. Wilson thinks the time is right, he tells her:

THE STRANGER ( XXXXI ) THE STRANGER ( XXXVIII )

“I’m on the Allied Commission for the Punishment of War Criminals. It’s my job to bring escaped Nazis to justice. It’s that job that brought me to Harper.”

THE STRANGER ( XXXX ) THE STRANGER ( XXXVII )

Robinson shows Young footage of the liberation of a concentration camp ( perhaps the first time movie audiences are seeing these camps themselves. ) She plays the scene well, sort of averting her eyes but also looking. You can’t unring a bell, and she cannot UNsee. Robinson delivers the coup de grace on her psyche:

THE STRANGER ( X )

“Now, in all the world, there’s only one person that can identify Franz Kindler. That person is the one who knows, knows definitely who Meineke came to Harper to see.”

It’s a sad scene. She’s crying, she’s hurt, disbelieving. Her father tries to console and comfort her. You can see the closeness in the relationship as they walk down the street, her head on her Dad’s shoulder, her father warmly played by Philip Merivale. Yes, it’s a little more than Honey, there is no Santa Claus. Robinson later says to her father:

THE STRANGER ( XXXIV )

“She has the facts now. But she won’t accept them. They’re too horrible for her to acknowledge. Not so much that Rankin could be Kindler, but that she could ever have given her love to such a creature. But we have one ally…her subconscious. It knows what the truth is and is struggling to be heard. The will to truth within your daughter is much too strong to be denied.”

But the very next scene has Young go to Welles to tell him how she withstood their questioning and accusations; she’s so proud to tell him. She tries to impress him, She wants prove her love by showing him she’d never tell. I think she has Stockholm Syndrome. The bad thing with her admission is Welles now knows she knows who he is, but she does not fully know what she knows. And for her even to have this knowledge
( which she hides from herself ) is a danger to him. Her “knowing” acknowledgment manifests itself in a Lady MacBethian way. ( “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!!” )  Now she wants the curtains drawn. Wants no light let into the house ( wants no truth let into her mind? ) At her luncheon party, dressed to the nines [ as only Loretta can ]  topped off with lady-like white pearls around her throat, she fidgets with the necklace, tugs on it as if it were a noose. It IS a noose in a way. She’s dying to take them off from around her neck after the party’s over. She’s at the breaking point. When Welles comes behind her to help her with the pearls, she recoils and snaps the beads to the floor.

THE STRANGER - XXXXXX

“When she snapped those beads, she signed her own death warrant. We’re carrying her life in our hands,”  says her father.

THE STRANGER - XXXXXXX

#FIVESTEPSTOBECOMINGAWIDOWER

Now she knows what her husband is and acknowledges it, and HE knows she knows. And everyone knows SHE knows and, in turn, knows Welles knows she knows. ( You got all that? ) She must be protected and not let out of anyone’s sight. There is a great scene with her long-time housekeeper trying everything in her power to keep Young from leaving the house. They were both so good in this scene  because there were different intentions that clashed against each other. 

THE STRANGER - XXXXXXXI THE STRANGER - XXXXXXXIII

The housekeeper has got to keep her home, while Young tries to be loyal to her husband and secretly meet him, becomes impatient with the housekeeper ( good performance by Martha Wentworth ) when she delays her, tries to make up to her for yelling at her and then take care of it when she has a heart attach. Young “follow orders” not to tell that she was meeting Welles at the church tower.  ( See how easy it is to fall into that trap? ) But when she couldnt make it, she does tell her kid brother to meet him. Great scene in such a small scale way. The push / pull to keep Young in the house was suspen
seful.

Loved Young’s confrontation with her husband when it all comes out. He’s at the breaking point himself. Her belief system’s been shattered about him but she gains some strength when her family’s put in danger.

THE STRANGER - HERE, USE THIS! ( B ) THE STRANGER - HERE, USE THIS! ( A )

Young: “Did you kill Noah?”

Welles: “Yes, if he goes to the church and climbs up that ladder.”

Young: “It was I you intended to kill wasn’t it?”

Welles: “No.”

Young: “Why wasn’t it I? FRANZ KINDLER!!! Kill me. Kill me, I want you to. I couldn’t face life knowing what I’d been to you and what I’ve done to Noah. But when you kill me, don’t put your hands on me. Here. Use this!!”

Her belief system’s been shattered, but she gains some strength when her family’s put in danger. See her pure release when she’s finally able to contemptuously calls him out. See her face here when she triumphantly says his name. And the triumph is mixed with disgust and fear. She’s practically saying “…even though you’re evil you’re still not good enough to touch me.” The twistedness of giving him a weapon ( the fire poker ) TO kill her was brilliant:

THE STRANGER - HERE, USE THIS! ( C ) THE STRANGER - HERE, USE THIS!

A frisson of emotions washes over me with goosebumps during her whole discovery scene. Young is thrilling to watch go toe-to-toe with Orson Welles. Her death would be on her own terms. She faces him for their final confrontation in the church tower. I LOVED her having him lift her up by the arm, dangling in mid-air since he sawed off some of the ladders rungs earlier. ( This seemed Hitchcockian to me. )  Pretty gutsy move for our doe-eyed, apple-cheeked heroine. She makes me think Teresa Wright in “Shadow 0f A Doubt.” ( Go away Uncle Charlie or Ill kill you myself. See. Thats the way I feel about you. ) Young’s character ( like Wright’s Charlie ) now SEES Evil. It’s her turn now to deceive him into believing she still trusts HIM. She has to get close to him to kill him. HE needs her to be close to him so he can kill her. It’d be too easy for him to drop her from that height. He NEEDS to kill her.

THE STRANGER - XXXXXXXVIII THE STRANGER - XXXXXXXVIIII

Welles: “What do you want?”

Young:  “I came to kill you.”

Welles: “No Mary. It’s you that’s going to die. You were meant to fall through that ladder. You’re going to fall.”

Young: “I don’t mind. If I take you with me.”

Whoa! Loretta Young goes gangsta!

THE STRANGER - EDDIE G. THE STRANGER - LORETTA YOUNG Stars THE STRANGER - ORSON WELLES

Who is the Stranger? Is it Eddie G. coming to town with bad tidings? Is it Welles, who’s never really part of the town. ( Welles as Rankin/Kindler is so dour and humorless in this movie I don’t see what attracted Loretta to him in the first place; not a bone of charm in his enitre curly-headed body. )  It’s not that she quite believes him hook, line and sinker. She comes from a loving and trusting place. BLOGATHON ( LORETTA YOUNG BIRTHDAY ) 1 : 3 - 6 : 2016It’s her misfortune that a man who trust no one, marries a woman who trusts everyone. “The Stranger is well-directed and perfectly cast. I find Young believable and emotional in this role in one of the best performances of her career. She removes the veil from her eyes and it’s a thrilling, scary, sad and triumphant thing to see. See this movie ( asap ) and peruse through the rest of Loretta’s birthday blogathon ( hosted by The Young Sisters Appreciation Group and Cinema Dilettante and Now Voyaging ) for her performances in The Farmer’s Daughter The Story of Alexander Graham Bell”…and much more to boot.

LORETTA YOUNG ( Blogathon )

Happy Birthday, Loretta. You were a Star and an Actress.

 

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SHE HAD TO SAY YES ( 1933 )

Yeah, but…

SHE HAD TO SAY YES ( BEST OF ) SHE HAD TO SAY YES ( MAD MEN )

…they ain’t got nuthin’ on SHE HAD TO SAY YES.”

SAY YES ( I )

Lovin’ pre-code. Adult, frank storylines, lingerie for the fellas and liberated women ( who, of course, have to get married by the end of this playing at work thing ). But “She Had To Say Yes” is such an eye-opening, jaw-dropping discovery, its twisted sexual philosophy had me on a roller coaster ride for all I’m worth.

A clothing manufacturer hires models for his clothes but also uses them as customer girls to “entertain” ( strong air quotes here ) his clients. The company needs new blood in the girls department.

SAY YES ( XXXI )

“Is it my fault because we’ve got a bunch of worn out gold diggers as customer girls?”

Regis Toomey, head salesman, has the brainstorm of an idea to dive into their stenographic pool and have those girls date their out-of-town buyers. Toomey’s idea does not include his fiancee, Loretta Young. He’s just one, big, fat-headed double-standard.

SAY YES ( XXXII )

R. TOOMEY: “Say, you don’t think I’m going to sit around and watch the future Mrs. Tommy Nelson being rough housed by a bunch of out-of-town buyers, d’ya?”

L. YOUNG:     “Well Tommy, if it’s alright for the other girls, why not?”

R. TOOMEY: “Now listen honey. You’re the only girl in the world that means anything to me. And if there’s any man-handling gonna be done, I’m the guy that’s gonna do it, get me?”

See? He loves her.

SAY YES ( II )  SAY YES ( III )

R. TOOMEY: “Seven hundred and forty-five bucks commission all because Birdie wiggles when she walks.”

L. YOUNG:    “Have you ever seen me wiggle?”

R. TOOMEY:
 “I have but he hasn’t and he never will.”

But soon is the time, for all good girls, to come to the aid, of their fiancee …and get pimped out by him. Toomey needs a big sale and the hefty commission will go towards their wedding trousseau. Young’s reticent but agrees; this decision puts her in the path of that ubiquitous perennial 1930’s favorite: Lyle Talbot, who takes her out for a nice dinner:

SAY YES ( XXXV )

L. TALBOT:  “I can’t quite figure you out.”

L. YOUNG:
   “Must you try?”

L. TALBOT: “Maybe not…Oh, if you could only read my mind.”

L. YOUNG:  “I’d probably slap your face, get right up and run home.”

But he’s a wolf in wolf’s clothing. He paws her as soon as he gets her in his hotel room to….uhmmm…type some letters.

 SAY YES ( XXXVI )   SAY YES ( IV )

“We’ve agreed to take care of their orders. They’ve got to look after their own morals.”

Toomey loses Young because he’s caught playing footsie with another secretary.

 SAY YES ( XXXVII ) SAY YES ( XXXIX )

Young fights off almost every man in this movie as they all seem to be sexual predators. She needs somebody on her side. All good girls have great gal pals, and wise-cracking Winnie Lightner is no exception. She’s on the order of a Pert Kelton, or Aline MacMahon…zinging those one-liners like a fast ball over the plate. She goes toe-to-toe with cad, Toomey on behalf of Young:

W. LIGHTNER: “Sure he can explain. They all can!”

R. TOOMEY:       “You keep out of this.”

W. LIGHTNER: “Say listen. If I did what I felt like doing right now, you’d look like you got kissed by a trolley car.”

R. TOOMEY:        “If you were a man…”

W. LIGHTNER: “If I were a man, you wouldn’t have to!”

The see-saw Young goes through with Talbot is really dizzying. When Talbot realizes she is NOT acting and IS a good girl, he plays by the rules with her ( aka no more pawing, he’ll chastely wait ).

SAY YES ( XXXXIV )  SAY YES ( XXXXI ) SAY YES ( XXXXII )

As the plot progresses, he mistakenly believes circumstantial evidence that she HAS gone all the way with another out-of-town buyer Hugh Herbert. ( Yeah that Hugh Herbert, but not so squirrelly. ) It’s not what it seems.

SAY YES ( X )

Talbot wants to release the hounds and get her in bed. She owes him. She cheated him.

Cheated him? Outta WHAAAAT?!

1…2…3…4…How do men get that way? Virginity is a commodity both men and women bargain and vie for. As soon as it’s suspected she might’ve given “it” away, the men turn on her like a dingo with a baby. Their attitude turns on a dime so fast it makes my head snap. Toomey is still fixated on her; well…not on her but on wondering if she’s really gone to bed with a buyer. No, they’re no longer together but he still wants to know. What? And if she has, she owes him. Owes?! How crazy… He drunkenly goes to her apartment to have her any way he can. It’s an uncomfortable scene:

SAY YES ( VIII )SAY YES ( V )SAY YES ( XXXX )

“Ahhhh, you’re just a customers’ girl, huh? Playin’ the field …takin’ them ALL on….My money’s as good as theirs. You just close your eyes and pretend I’m a buyer. I’ll take you this way. I’ll take you any way you want it.”

Talbot, who was nice to her, suspects her of sleeping with another man and now tries to — What the hey…

SAY YES ( XXXXIX )  SAY YES ( XXXXX )

L. TALBOT:  “Let’s you and I stop pretending.”

L. YOUNG:   “Pretending?”

L. TALBOT:  “Pretending to be Little Miss Virtue in person.”

L. YOUNG:  “Danny you’re insulting me!”

L. TALBOT: “Yes I’m insulting you. From now on you can give somebody else the runaround!”

The movie’s message is kind of whack for women back in 1933:

  • The workplace is fraught with danger.
  • Your secretarial skills are not valued.
  • Once you take a dictation, men will chase you for your virginity and then dump you before you can type: sincerely yours.

Harumpppph! Things ARE better today, but sometimes I’m not so sure …  Is this movie a cautionary tale for “girls to stay home” … Is this a movie where she should sit and wait for him to put a ring on it? Is this movie lauding Loretta Young’s integrity in holding out? Is this movie espousing all men are creeps? Is Gregg shorthand better than Pittman? What goes on here? The end of this movie is a topsy turvy twist you’ve got to see for yourself…so you can tell me what I saw.

SAY YES ( XXXXVI )Yet even with all its “mixed messages” I do like this movie. Any movie that makes my jaw drop is a keeper, even if I start screaming. But now I really want to see more of Loretta Young. She’s believable. There is a sincerity to her performance. She’s very natural.  How did I get snookered into the blinding blondeness of Harlow …the dark sable of Kay Francis…the intelligent etherealness of Harding…the androgynous exoticism of Garbo…the American glamour of Shearer…Lombard, the chameleon who could turn screwball into serious business? I’m working my way towards Colbert but am still light years away. It’s the early 1930’s and yes, the boys are doing their thing…but it’s the talented ladies who have my attention. Am I really only now setting my near-sighted high beams on Loretta Young?

LORETTA YOUNG ( TY POWER ) LORETTA YOUNG ( TRACY ) LORETTA YOUNG ( MIDNIGHT MARY ) LORETTA YOUNG ( Employee Entrance ) LORETTA YOUNG ( CARY ) LORETTA YOUNG ( CAGNEY ) LORETTA YOUNG ( NIVEN ) 

You might think I’m stretching the point a bit, but I think Loretta Young has a bit of a lot of those gals all rolled up inside that doe-faced visage of hers:

LORETTA YOUNG ( YOUNG )

She can be glamorous, definitely classy, certainly smart. Her sex appeal is subtler. Even when she’s working class, she’s not brash ( though she WAS pretty tawdry in “Born To Be Bad” ). Her quiet elegance is a through line in her career. I am woefully full of gaps when it comes to my familiarity with this 50’s-tv icon’s early career. But in the movies, Loretta Young has got to be one of the most put upon girls of the 30’s. ( It’s gotta be them there eyes ).

(  H O M E  )
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WEEK-END MARRIAGE ( 1932 )

 WEEKEND ( XV )
Love on the Rocks

WEEKEND ( XI )  WEEKEND ( XIII )

“If you just know the six sentences to say that would make him propose, would you say them?”

This is the question Aline MacMahon proposes to Loretta Young to hook that special guy. A whole lot of cards are dealt from the bottom of the deck on both sides of the gender gap in WEEK-END MARRIAGE. These cards are strewn about like rose petals in Reno.

In this story about inter-personal relationships between men and women, for and against marriage, Lola ( LORETTA YOUNG ) has a perfectly respectable, reasonable, economically sound approach to entering a lifetime partnership ( marriage ) with her attractive but childish object of affection Ken ( NORMAN FOSTER ). She wants to keep her job and contribute her salary to their household. This doesn’t sound revolutionary to me, but I’M living in 2015. As she tells her friend Connie:

Lola ( Young ): “Gee with Ken’s $40 and my $40 we’ll have $80.00. At least we won’t have to worry about the radio payments. We can have a cleaning woman.”

Connie ( Sheila Terry ): “Gee, that’s swell Lola…If I don’t marry him soon, Joe says he’ll marry somebody else. Now that he has money, he wants babies. That’s all they ever want.”

Lola: “Don’t be a fool Connie. You stick to your job.”

Things don’t bode well for the young couple for two reasons.

I. Her husband’s short-sighted skepticism:

Ken ( Foster): “Man doesn’t like his wife working in an office. He wants to work for her. Wants her waiting for him when he gets home.”

Lola ( Young ): “Oh Ken, you’re hopelessly dated… Don’t you see dear, I want to help. I don’t want to be a drag on you. And if you let me keep my job, everything’ll be so much easier.”

Ken: “We’ll maybe. For a month or two ‘till I get a raise.”

Lola: “No it’s got to be for longer, Ken.”

Ken: “Well…for how long?”

Lola: “Well, as long as I feel like working. Or until I feel I can afford not to.”

( Dude, you can take care of me all you want, but can I keep my own money then? )

II. When we see Ken wearing an apron and cooking dinner or shopping for groceries.

WEEKEND ( XXXV )
His sister-in-law sees he has his hands full

You see, what’s baked into the fine print of the marriage vows along with regular, legally sanctioned bouts of “Whoopee!” is the fact that she is expected to keep up with the housework: cooking, cleaning, shopping as well as do office work. I got the pre-code shock of my life when I saw Young and Foster cuddling in bed together. The same bed. The…one…bed. That looks hopeful, grown-up and progressive for movies. Yay Pre-Code.

WEEKEND ( XXXII ) WEEKEND ( XXXIII )
My jaw dropped but I ain’t seen nuthin yet…

As the movie goes on, they’re like ships that pass in the night, unable to coordinate their schedules. He makes a mess making pork chops…she comes home to a messy house.

WEEKEND ( XXII )

A woman’s work is never done, even when she comes home from work…

WEEKEND ( XXIX ) WEEKEND ( XXXI )

Troubles begin when their fortunes change. She gets a raise…

WEEKEND ( XXXXII ) WEEKEND ( XXXXIII )

“The time has come when I’ve got to go to St. Louis. Things are in a horrible mess out there…and here’s the point. It would help me a lot to have you along. Of course I realize your responsibilites as a wife and all that. Well there it is. And if you intend to keep on with your career, I think it’d be a very good opening for you. You’d get $50 a week to start and your position would more or less be executive. As a matter of fact, you’d be my assistant.”

How refreshing. No strings; just merit. Gee, this is swell but…

…he loses his job

WEEKEND ( XXX ) WEEKEND ( XXVI )

HE:   I got cut today. They’re eliminating the Foreign Department. I can have a job for $30 if I wanted.

SHE: Are you going to take it?

HE:   Sure. What else can I do?

SHE: Nevermind honey. It all amounts to the same thing. I got a raise today.

HE:   Oh, so you got a raise.

SHE: Isn’t that swell?

HE:   Yeah, you’ll be wearing the pants from now on I suppose.

SHE: But Ken do you think that’s nice?

HE:   Well, it’s the truth isn’t it? You’ll be earning more than I will.

SHE: What of it?

HE:   Oh nothing, I guess. Anything goes these days. 

WEEKEND ( XXIII )

What the… ACK!! On the face of it, I can’t see a thing wrong with earning more money, es-pecially in 1932. Young is glad to contribute until Foster gets back on his feet. But look at the way it’s all framed. This is how the movies set us up: ( “Money?  MONEY?!! She don’ need no steeenking monaaay!!!” ) Each raise she gets jeopardizes her relationship.

( Scroll down just a little more to see page 2 of my argument. )