LITTLE CAESAR (1931), I decided to pull another Farrell film off the shelf tonight. GIRL MISSING proved to be a zippy pre-Code comedy-mystery which was a great 69 minutes of entertainment.
Kay Curtis (Farrell) and June Dale (Mary Brian) are a pair of gold-digging chorus girls in Palm Beach. They learn that a former chorus girl, Daisy (Peggy Shannon), is marrying wealthy Henry Gibson (Ben Lyon). Daisy disappears on her wedding night, and Kay and June are on the case. They're particularly suspicious because Daisy's ex-boyfriend, Raymond (Lyle Talbot), seems very anxious to get them out of town; he even pays off their $700 hotel bill.
This is an energetic, fast-paced comedy with an intriguing story and some great dialogue, much of it delivered at machine-gun pace by Farrell. She has some terrific banter with the cranky police chief (Edward Ellis); she's quite entertaining. Farrell acted until shortly before her death in 1971. She married a doctor in 1941 and the marriage lasted until her passing.
I think I'd only previously seen Mary Brian in BLESSED EVENT (1932). She's lovely and very sweet; in fact, I later learned she was once dubbed "the Sweetest Girl in Pictures"! She has a scene with a would-be sugar daddy (Guy Kibbee) early in the film that's a bit surprising; my daughter, overhearing some of the dialogue, asked "pre-Code?" Yep!
Off the screen Ben Lyon was the longtime husband of Bebe Daniels, and when she passed on he married Marian Nixon, the widow of director William Seiter. There's information on a book on the Seiter-Nixon family in today's link roundup.
Lyle Talbot was the subject of a very well-received book by his daughter, Margaret Talbot, which I hope to read sometime this year.
One of the things I love about '30s films is you just never know who will show up on the screen. In this case, when Kay and June pay a visit to a garage, the attendant proves to be Walter Brennan!
Dennis O'Keefe is supposed to be a casino patron, but I didn't spot him, although I was watching for his face; this was one of over 170 '30s films in which O'Keefe had a bit role before finally catching on in more substantive roles.
Louise Beavers plays Daisy's maid. Milton Kibbee, Guy's younger brother, is a police stenographer. The cast also includes Harold Huber, Helen Ware, Ferdinand Gottschalk, and George Pat Collins.
GIRL MISSING was directed by Robert Florey.
GIRL MISSING is available in a pre-Code "double feature" DVD from the Warner Archive, along with ILLICIT (1931) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ricardo Cortez. The Archive DVD can be rented from ClassicFlix.
It's also been shown on Turner Classic Movies.
Recommended for a good time with Glenda and Mary in Palm Beach!