Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Our Blushing Brides (1930)

This was a weekend for back-to-back Robert Montgomery movies: last night was YELLOW JACK (1938), and tonight was an early Montgomery film, OUR BLUSHING BRIDES, costarring Joan Crawford.

I was inspired to get out my tape of OUR BLUSHING BRIDES by Kate's photo essay at Silents and Talkies, which features a remarkable set from the film. It's even more impressive on the screen than it is in photos, the ultimate in imaginative set design.

OUR BLUSHING BRIDES is the very engrossing tale of three young women struggling to make a living working at a department store. Gerry (Joan Crawford) is strongly attracted to Tony (Robert Montgomery), whose family owns the store, but Tony's not necessarily interested in marriage, and Gerry won't compromise her morals. She keeps Tony at a distance, much to his dismay.

Gerry's friend Connie (Anita Page) becomes the mistress of Tony's brother David (Raymond Hackett), which comes to a bad end, and while their other roommate, Frankie (Dorothy Sebastian), achieves marriage to a wealthy man, marrying for money doesn't turn out to be a good idea either. Only Our Girl Joan, holding out for both true love and a ring on her finger, seems destined for ultimate happiness.

OUR BLUSHING BRIDES is the final film in a loose trilogy of Joan Crawford-Anita Page movies; the first two films were the silents OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (1928), costarring Johnny Mack Brown, and OUR MODERN MAIDENS (1929), which also starred Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Dorothy Sebastian appears in the first and last films. I've recorded both of these films and will be watching them at some point in the future.

Though I've never been a Crawford fan, I've gradually been warming up to her, particularly in her '30s films, thanks to seeing her in a number of movies with costars I especially like. (Links to some of these films are at the conclusion of this post.) I liked Crawford and her sympathetic character very much in this film; it's a strong role and she gives an excellent performance. As for Montgomery, it's no secret here that he's become one of my very favorite actors. I've seen roughly two dozen of his films over the last couple years and liked them all.

The film has some interesting angles to it, including a fashion show which features costumes by MGM's great designer, Adrian; this sequence incorporates a brief Busby Berkeley style swim scene, which actually predates the great Berkeley's work. The film's release in the pre-Code era is also very much in evidence in various ways, from the frank subject matter to the frequent modeling of lingerie.

The Films of Joan Crawford has some excellent stills from the film, although I disagree with the reviewer's assessment of Montgomery's performance.

The supporting cast includes Hedda Hopper, John Miljan, Edward Brophy, Robert O'Connor, Doris Lloyd, and Louise Beavers. Ann Dvorak is said to be one of the models in the film; I'll have to take a closer look the next time I watch it.

OUR BLUSHING BRIDES was directed by Harry Beaumont. It runs 102 minutes.

OUR BLUSHING BRIDES is not available on video or DVD but can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. Click here for a page where you can vote to indicate interest in a DVD release. (March 2014 Update: OUR BLUSHING BRIDES is now available on DVD from the Warner Archive.)

Previous reviews of films costarring Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery: LETTY LYNTON (1932), FORSAKING ALL OTHERS (1934), NO MORE LADIES (1935), and THE LAST OF MRS. CHEYNEY (1937).

As a postscript, Robert Montgomery fans might enjoy checking out this six-minute photo tribute at YouTube and his hilarious appearance on WHAT'S MY LINE? I also came across a creatively scored homage to Montgomery and Carole Lombard as MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941)...watching it, it suddenly struck me that there is some similarity between MR. AND MRS. SMITH and PRIVATE LIVES (1931). But that's a subject for another day...

6 Comments:

Blogger Raquelle said...

I really enjoy Joan Crawford's Women movies, and this one is my favorite!

I'm like you, don't like Crawford much, but her earlier films are much more tolerable!

7:20 AM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

I've been loving your reviews (as always) - I also noticed today that the next wave of WB Archive titles has been released and it includes some nifty titles. As soon as I amass my fortune I will be ordering the whole kit n' kaboodle. In the meantime, the westerns are mighty appealing (they've got some great Randolph Scott titles).
But I made my first plunge and ordered one title out of the new wave: The Mad Miss Manton with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda! I've never seen it, but have been wanting to for ages. Screwball romantic comedy-mystery and Sam Levene, who I love. Have you seen it? How has your experience been with your order?

4:15 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Raquelle,

Glad you liked this one too. I really enjoyed it.

I'm a bit impatient with silent films (as a fast reader, I find the title cards annoyingly slow), but I'm quite interested now to see the earlier two films she made in this trilogy.

Best wishes,
Laura

4:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

J.C.,

Thanks for the compliment! Feedback such as yours is a great encouragement to me.

What great timing -- earlier today I was Googling to see if I could find out when the next "wave" of Archive releases would be. Are they segregated in a particular place or mixed in with previous releases? (The site is a bit of a mess...I filled out a customer survey last week and had all sorts of suggestions, grin.)

If you like Sam Levene you'll love THE MAD MISS MANTON -- here is my review from back in 2007. It's a silly-but-fun movie -- worth seeing if you're a screwball fan or like the actors, although I didn't think it was top-drawer screwball.

As mentioned in that review, Levene is also fun in GRAND CENTRAL MURDER. He's a Marx-reading Chicagoan in YELLOW JACK...both are worth keeping an eye open for their next airing on TCM. I'm always happy to see Levene's name turn up in the opening credits.

Very exciting to hear about more Randolph Scott releases! I just borrowed my Dad's video of ABILENE TOWN and also have borrowed a video copy of WESTBOUND he obtained from a private collector. I was over at Greenbriar Picture Shows when I did the Warner Archive Googling earlier and am very encouraged to hear the good reviews for the Scott films and QUENTIN DURWARD.

Ordering PRIVATE LIVES from the Archive was a bit rough -- I think the site was overloaded that first week and I was told multiple times the order couldn't be processed...then it turned out it had been! (Thankfully only ONCE! LOL.) From there on, smooth sailing. I received the DVD in exactly a week, and I was very happy with the photo & sound quality, and the DVD keep case as well.

I hope you will blog a review of MISS MANTON! I'll be interested in your opinion of both the film and the Warner Archive print.

Best wishes,
Laura

4:29 PM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

OK- now Grand Central Murder and Yellow Jack are on my "make sure you see" list. Great review, btw, which only made me more pleased with my first WBShop choice. (I thought it was funny to see my comment there as well. Two years later and I am finally getting my mitts on it) I am a fan of all of the actors and the genre. I know I could use some excapism these days!
As far as my experience with WB Shop goes, the process for me was very smooth- but that I think means they have worked out some of the kincks. I am encouraged that they are continuing to include a variety of genres and decades with each wave, and a survey as to what we would like to see. A Red Skelton film is winning so far. I will most definitely write up a review for The Shelf. I am in the middle of one now, but recent health issues in my family (everything is fine now tho) have limited my blogging time. Back on the horse soon!

5:06 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Funny -- I hadn't scrolled down far enough in that review to see our discussion in the comments! :)

Thanks for sharing your experience -- glad to hear the ordering was smooth.

Just went over and looked at the titles -- was curious there only seem to be 15 titles, rather than 20 (the number initially "advertised" to be released each month). Lots of Fairbanks Jr. (yay!), K. Hepburn, and Scott, plus a couple musicals; however,

I do admit to finding it annoying to have a musical with lots of specialty numbers like THOUSANDS CHEER released with no chapter selections. I guess we'll have to get used to that and be grateful that something like HAVING WONDERFUL TIME can now be obtained on DVD. :)

I was sorry to hear about the health issue and glad that all is now OK!!

Best wishes,
Laura

6:06 PM  

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