Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tonight's Movie: The Florodora Girl (1930) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Marion Davies stars as THE FLORODORA GIRL (1930), recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

This one was a bit slow out of the starting gate for me, but it slowly picked up steam and ultimately proved to be a cute comic melodrama.

Daisy (Davies) is a poor but lovely chorus girl. She attracts the attention of wealthy Jack Vibart (Lawrence Gray), who's engaged to wealthy Constance (Jane Keithley).

Jack thinks he'll have some fun with Daisy until he finally has to settle down and marry Constance, but Daisy is a good girl, and when she realizes Jack's intentions are less than honorable, she smacks him. Daisy's rejection and some financial reversals cause Jack to grow up and take charge of his life.

It's a bit creaky, but the good-hearted Davies, a nice supporting cast, and evocative period sets and costumes help a great deal, particularly after the first half hour. Much of the plot has a familiar feel, but it's probably good to keep in mind that the story would have been fresher in 1930 than it seems today.

In one of the funniest scenes, which illustrates "the more things change, the more they stay the same," Daisy suffers from what we now would call a "wardrobe malfunction" while at a big party. Walter Catlett is amusing as one of Jack's crowd who helps Daisy out, though not too successfully.

One of the nice aspects of the story was that Jack's mother (Nance O'Neil) was written and performed fairly free of cliches. She wants Jack to marry money -- but she's not a mean-hearted woman or a snob about Daisy's background; rather, she's a widow with two younger children who is frightened of the future.

The finale is in two-strip Technicolor; it's a bit fuzzy, but it's great to see the film as it was originally released, with the screen suddenly filled with pink and green pastels.

I kept thinking that one of Daisy's friends looked familiar and then realized it was Ilka Chase, so good in films such as NOW, VOYAGER (1942) and NO TIME FOR LOVE (1943).

One of the fun aspects for me was a scene with teenaged Anita Louise. Louise, who began her career as a child actress, was 15 when she played one of Jack's sisters.

George Chandler, who sometimes seems to be in every other movie of the '30s, plays Daisy's bicycle-riding beau.

THE FLORODORA GIRL runs 79 minutes. It was directed by Harry Beaumont and filmed by Oliver T. Marsh.

Although the picture is soft at times, particularly during the Technicolor scenes, it looks good considering its age. There are no extras on the DVD.

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...

I must get this one as I'd like to see more of Marion Davies. Thanks for highlighting it.

11:59 PM  

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