Monday, November 16, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Virginia Mayo shines in SMART GIRLS DON'T TALK (1948), recently released by the Warner Archive.

Although I just saw this film two years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again. It's simply a darn good little movie, entertaining from beginning to end.

Virginia Mayo plays Linda Vickers, a woman looking for some quick cash and love, and if they come together, so much the better. She finds both in the person of nightclub owner Marty Fain (Bruce Bennett), whose legal establishment hides a gambling house in the back room.

Linda is initially as hard-nosed as they come, willing to overlook Marty's men using her car to commit a murder, especially when Marty cuts her a check for $18,000.

Linda does a sudden about-face when her brother "Doc" (Robert Hutton) comes to town to start training at a local hospital. Linda is embarrassed to realize that she's turned into a pretty low-class character; she returns the check to Marty and breaks off their relationship.

Almost immediately tragedy hits, and Linda finds herself helping Lt. McReady (Richard Rober) put Marty behind bars.

This is a most enjoyable film which gives Mayo a very good part, taking Linda from being a calculating, lying manipulator to a woman excited by the initial thrill of attraction and danger to someone who is both more responsible and a more attractive, sympathetic personality. The fact that these transitions are seamless and believable are due to Mayo's performance and a good script by William Sackheim.

The script also has some nice crackling dialogue exchanges between Mayo and her two leading men, Bennett and Rober. Bennett has a low-key sort of charisma as the mobster which makes Linda's attraction to him believable. Rober does a nice job as the wisecracking cop; tragically, Rober died in a car accident in 1952.

The movie also has a nice role for Helen Westcott as Toni, a nightclub singer who ends up on the wrong end of a mobster's fist when Marty's men fear she'll spill the beans about a crime. The reveal of Toni's black eye is quite startling. She also has the chance to sing a very appealing song, "The Stars Will Remember."

The film makes good use of music in general, with Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You" used frequently on the soundtrack.

The supporting cast includes Tom D'Andrea, Richard Benedict, Richard Walsh, and Harry Hayden. Watch for Phyllis Coates as the nightclub cigarette girl.

SMART GIRLS DON'T TALK runs 81 minutes. It was directed by Richard L. Bare, who also directed Mayo and Westcott in FLAXY MARTIN (1949).

The Warner Archive DVD is a nice-looking print. There are no extras.

Fans of Virginia Mayo and '40s crime films will definitely want to check this one out.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would love to see this. A rare Virginia Mayo film.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I hope you get the chance to check it out, Vienna! :) A very enjoyable movie.

Best wishes,

7:21 PM  

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