Thursday, February 02, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Three Girls About Town (1941)

Joan Blondell was my most-seen actress in both 2013 and 2016, and she's an early contender to head the list again! Earlier this week I watched her in KANSAS CITY PRINCESS (1934), and I followed that with another Blondell film, the much better THREE GIRLS ABOUT TOWN (1941).

Joan and Binnie Barnes play Hope and Faith, two sisters who work as "convention hostesses" at the Merchants Hotel. They are putting their kid sister Charity (Janet Blair) through a ritzy school, but the man-hungry Charity shows up at the hotel unexpectedly, wanting to quit school...and promptly putting the moves on Hope's long-suffering reporter boyfriend, Tommy (John Howard).

Faith is sweet on hotel manager Wilburforce Puddle (Robert Benchley), but their jobs are all in danger due to multiple problems, including a newspaper article implying the sisters are more than just hostesses...and a dead body which shows up in one of the rooms, right as a magicians' convention is ending and a morticians' convention is underway!

This was a film I would have really enjoyed seeing in the Blondell series at UCLA last December, but I wasn't ready to sit through the emotional A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945) again, having seen it the preceding May.

THREE GIRLS ABOUT TOWN isn't a classic, but it is a lot of fun -- if more than a bit macabre at times -- with a good screenplay by Richard Carroll and a bright cast in a fast-paced 75 minutes.

Everyone has a chance to shine, whether it's Blair putting the moves on Tommy's befuddled older boss (Paul Harvey), Howard playing poker with a corpse, Barnes and Benchley discussing their potential future children, or Eric Blore as a drunken magician talking to his reflection in a mirror.

Besides the lead players, this is the kind of movie where Tommy hangs out at the hotel with a half dozen other reporters -- who include Lloyd Bridges, Larry Parks, and Bruce Bennett! And two of the busiest bit players in Hollywood, Charles Lane and Bess Flowers, play a mortician and his wife who are staying at the hotel.

Also on hand are Una O'Connor, Almira Sessions, Hugh O'Connell, Grady Sutton, Robert Emmett Keane, Barbara Brown, Charles Halton, Ken Christy, Harry Harvey, and even more familiar faces beyond that list. You've just got to love the depth of the casts who show up in films of this era.

The movie was directed by Leigh Jason and filmed by Franz Planer.

Sadly this Columbia Pictures film does not appear to be available on DVD or even VHS, but it's been shown in the past on both Turner Classic Movies and getTV.

For more on this film, please visit a review posted by David Vineyard last year at Mystery File.


OpenID vienna said...

This sounds fun. Great cast. A shame it's not readily available.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree! I've seen it available on YouTube if you want to try there...things there tend to come and go!

Best wishes,

12:13 AM  
OpenID vienna said...

Just checked. It is in You Tube. thanks, Laura.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Great! Let me know what you think if you get to check it out.

Laura :)

4:41 PM  

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