Friday, November 10, 2017

Tonight's Movie: No More Ladies (1935) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery, and Franchot Tone star in the romantic comedy NO MORE LADIES (1935), available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

Marcia (Crawford) and Sherry (Montgomery) wed, but despite his deep love for Marcia, former playboy Sherry just can't seem to stop himself from spending time with other women.

Marcia wants to save their marriage and decides to use Jim (Tone) to make Sherry jealous. That's pretty much all there is to the plot of this 80-minute film, which sounds like a tear-jerking soap opera but is instead handled with more laughs than tears.

I first saw this film in 2008, and I think I enjoyed my return visit even more. For the viewer who wants to get away from it all, there can't be a more wonderful escape than dropping into this mid-'30s Art Deco MGM land. Everyone looks great, with the ladies in gowns by Adrian, and they all say witty things thanks to a screenplay cowritten by Donald Ogden Stewart, who later adapted Philip Barry's THE PHILADELPHIA STORY to the screen.

Did the wealthy really ever live as glamorously as they did at MGM? For some Depression-era audiences, the shelves of Crawford's fully stocked refrigerator -- doors left open for an extended period of gaping from the audience -- might have been as beautiful as any of the fancy gowns.

This was one of half a dozen films Crawford and Montgomery made together, and they were always an excellent team with strong chemistry. (We're all still waiting...and waiting...for their terrific LETTY LYNTON to surface from the depths of the grey market and finally be legally available.) I feel Crawford was at her loveliest and most appealing in the mid to late '30s, and she's very enjoyable here as the woman determined to teach her man a lesson and keep him for her own.

Montgomery is one of my favorite actors, immensely attractive and appealing even when playing an immature character, and Tone isn't far behind him in terms of screen appeal. Tone would marry Crawford in late 1935.

Montgomery and Tone, incidentally, would later team with Janet Gaynor in the very enjoyable THREE LOVES HAS NANCY (1938).

In addition to the lead actors, the film is populated with a superb supporting cast including Edna May Oliver, Reginald Denny, Charlie Ruggles, Gail Patrick, Arthur Treacher, Joan Fontaine, and Charles Coleman. Casts just don't come any better; there's great pleasure simply being "in the room" with them.

The film was directed by Edward H. Griffith and an uncredited George Cukor, who took over when Griffith became ill. It was filmed by Oliver T. Marsh.

I enjoyed discovering much of Montgomery's work on TCM a decade or so ago and am enjoying circling back to it thanks to the Warner Archive. NO MORE LADIES was a very early Warner Archive release, back in 2010, but since the Warner Archive's films are all manufactured on demand, older titles remain just as easily available as the latest releases.

Those who are new to Montgomery might also want check out the Archive's eight-film Robert Montgomery Collection, which has been on my shelves for several years now, as well as their single-title Montgomery releases, many of which have been previously reviewed here.

The NO MORE LADIES print is a bit soft and worn, but the sound is fine and it's still a very enjoyable watch, even if the print isn't as crisp as one might wish. The disc includes the trailer.

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 or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger Brittaney said...

Montgomery is also a favorite of mine. I know I've seen this one, but I really can't remember it. I must watch it again.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Brittaney! Always glad to hear from another Montgomery fan. I hope you enjoy revisiting this one as much as I did!

Best wishes,

8:52 AM  
Blogger Anthony Lenzo said...

Great movie , lots of laughs and just beautiful art deco sets.

1:21 PM  

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