Sunday, May 06, 2018

Tonight's Movie: The Hot Heiress (1931) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Rodgers and Hart wrote three songs for THE HOT HEIRESS (1931), released on DVD last month by the Warner Archive.

In this modest musical Ben Lyon plays Hap Harrigan, a riveter working on a skyscraper. One day while working he sees lovely Juliet (Ona Munson) asleep through a window and is smitten. When a hot rivet goes through Juliet's window and starts a fire, Hap and Juliet meet, and they're instantly in love.

Hap doesn't believe he can fit into wealthy Juliet's world, but she convinces him to come visit her parents' country home. Juliet's would-be "acceptable" suitor (Walter Pidgeon) and parents (Nella Walker and Holmes Herbert) are shocked when they learn that Hap is an ordinary working man. Can true love conquer all?

The movie's main asset is the charm of its two leads. Lyon is reminiscent of one of my favorites, George O'Brien, in both looks and sunny temperament, while the perpetually smiling Munson is a charmer. Just a few years later Munson would play Belle Watlin in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), sharing a moving scene with Olivia de Havilland.

Another plus is the location fiming for the country house sequence. I'd love to know where the swimming pool scenes were filmed. There's even a slide!

Otherwise this is a passably entertaining but minor effort. The songs may be by Rodgers and Hart but the most memorable thing about them is probably one of the titles, "Nobody Loves a Riveter." And alas, though Walter Pidgeon had a fine singing voice, he doesn't get the chance to show it off in this film.

The supporting cast includes Tom Dugan, Inez Courtney, and Thelma Todd.

THE HOT HEIRESS was directed by Clarence G. Badger and filmed by Sol Polito. It runs 79 minutes.

The print is soft and several scenes are speckled or have large dots scattered around the picture. I suspect this is about as good as this particular film gets visually without expensive restoration. The sound has some static common to films of the era but on the whole is good. 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 or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I like Ben Lyon but haven't seen enough of him. Puts me in mind of that one where Dick Powell was a window washer involved with an heiress played by Josephine Hutchinson. Those movie folks will insist on crossing class lines. They must think they live in an egalitarian society. Only in the movies!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes, now that you mention it, it does remind me of that Powell movie! It seemed a little familiar, that's probably why. :)

Best wishes,

9:40 PM  

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