Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tonight's Movie: The Personality Kid (1934)

I'm on a bit of an early Warner Bros. kick of late, so after seeing Pat O'Brien in I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER (1934) at UCLA last weekend, I decided to watch him in another film made the same year, THE PERSONALITY KID (1934).

I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER and THE PERSONALITY KID are two of seven films O'Brien made which were released in 1934. Warner Bros. kept their contract players busy! THE PERSONALITY KID came out in July of that year, the month that enforcement of the Production Code began.

Glenda Farrell, who had a supporting role in I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, is the leading lady in THE PERSONALITY KID. She plays Joan McCarty, the wife and manager of boxer Ritzy McCarty (O'Brien).

Ritzy, who has an unusual "dancing" style in the ring, seems on his way to the top; unfortunately, he becomes arrogant and allows himself to be distracted by a wealthy dame (Claire Dodd) who causes friction between Ritzy and Joan.

The couple have some other conflicts, but even when they separate it's clear they still love one another, and Ritzy returns to Joan's side when he learns she'll have a baby. He still has some important decisions to make, though, about how to support his family.

It's a short movie with the typical fast-talking, gritty Warner Bros. style of the era. It's a middling film, not great but entertaining enough to be worthwhile. O'Brien and Farrell are fun to watch, and it was a little different watching a film where the lead characters are married at the outset; it was also interesting watching Farrell wheel and deal as the business-minded half of the team.

Dodd is good in one of her long string of "other woman" roles. There's a nice part for Clarence Muse as Ritzy's righthand man in the ring.

The cast also includes Henry O'Neill, Robert Gleckler, Thomas E. Jackson, and Arthur Vinton. Look for Bess Flowers as a maternity ward nurse near the end of the movie.

THE PERSONALITY KID was directed by Alan Crosland and filmed by William Rees. It runs a quick 69 minutes.

THE PERSONALITY KID is shown periodically on Turner Classic Movies.


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