Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Smartest Girl in Town (1936)

I seem to be on a roll with primarily movie posts of late...but it's the holiday season and who wants to think about heavier topics like financial bailouts and Senate seat shenanigans at this time of year? Especially after we finally concluded the longest Presidential campaign in history.

It's been an unusually busy December, with a heavy work schedule and preparations for our daughter's London semester along with Christmas. Our daughter has now safely arrived in London, the Christmas decorations are put away, and perhaps soon I'll have more time for surfing the web and posting more frequently. :)

Tonight's movie was a cute '30s Ann Sothern comedy called SMARTEST GIRL IN TOWN. Ann plays an advertising model who would love to marry a wealthy man. (This is the Depression, after all.) She meets a rich man in the person of Gene Raymond, but she thinks he's another model. She can't help being attracted to him, even though she thinks he's living paycheck to paycheck, and he's delighted to finally find a girl who loves him for himself.

The movie whizzes buy in just 58 minutes. The plot may be silly at times, but it's never dull. It's a pleasant way to pass an hour.

The film has gorgeous Art Deco sets from the RKO team headed by the great Van Nest Polglase; I'd love to know how Sothern's character afforded her apartment on her model's salary!

The cast is filled with familiar faces from Astaire-Rogers films, including Eric Blore (playing a butler, of course), Erik Rhodes (playing a Latin lover, of course), and wonderful Helen Broderick, who plays Sothern's sister. Broderick has a great way with a wisecrack and brightens any movie in which she appears. (For those who may not be aware, Helen Broderick was the mother of Broderick Crawford.)

The film was directed by Joseph Santley. The supporting cast includes Frank Jenks, Harry Jans, and Etta McDaniel, who was the sister of Hattie McDaniel of GWTW.

SMARTEST GIRL IN TOWN can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, where it next airs on January 22, 2009.

Update: SMARTEST GIRL IN TOWN is now available on DVD from the Warner Archive.


Blogger Missy said...

It's really hard to picture Ann Sothern and Helen Broderick as sisters! They are so different in appearance. Helen is such a laugh in the Fred and Ginger movies she appeared in.


9:22 PM  
Blogger Classic Maiden said...

I really want to see more films with Ann Sothern, especially because I love her singing voice.

Furthermore, I always enjoy Eric Blore with his silly accents and remarks --> he's funny and adorable, I think!

3:46 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Laura, I hope your daughter has a terrific time in London. What a great experience for her!

I'm really enjoying your movie posts - especially when you bring to our attention the more obscure and/or long forgotten or overlooked ones.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you on both counts, Dana! :)

Best wishes,

1:53 PM  

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