Friday, November 27, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Ladies Should Listen (1934) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Earlier this month I reviewed the first two films in the new Cary Grant Collection released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

Grant starred with Joan Bennett in both of those movies, BIG BROWN EYES (1934) and WEDDING PRESENT (1936).

The final film in the collection is LADIES SHOULD LISTEN (1934), a romantic comedy which is one of relatively few Cary Grant films I've never seen.  It proved to be an enjoyable 61 minutes, and I'm glad to have caught up with it at long last.

Grant plays Julian, a businessman recently returned to Paris. Julian's romantic life is a bit of a mess; he's pursuing Marguerite (Rosita Moreno), who turns out to be married to Ramon (Rafael Corio); in turn he's pursued by Susie (Nydia Westman), the ditzy daughter of a wealthy man (George Barbier).  Susie's interest in Julian upsets his good friend Paul (Edward Everett Horton), who's in love with Susie himself.

Unknown to Julian, his apartment building's lovely switchboard operator, Anna (Frances Drake), has fallen in love with him. In a story which somewhat foreshadows BELLS ARE RINGING (1960), Anna efficiently works behind the scenes pulling strings to set everything in his life right.  

This was a short and sweet little film cowritten by Frank Butler and Claude Binyon.  Binyon's name caught my eye as he wrote and/or directed several entertaining films, including HOLIDAY INN (1942), and he had a long association with Fred MacMurray, with NO TIME FOR LOVE (1943) being a favorite romantic comedy.

While LADIES SHOULD LISTEN isn't a top-drawer film, it's an entertaining hour and has some good moments and clever lines scattered throughout.  Released just weeks after enforcement of the Production Code began in July 1934, it feels as though a handful of the lines slipped past the censors during the transition; Susie can hardly wait to be alone with Julian and lets everyone know it.

Grant was on the ascent in this era, a star on the way to superstardom in just a few short years.  The same year as LADIES SHOULD LISTEN he starred with Sylvia Sidney in the charming romance THIRTY DAY PRINCESS (1934).

Frances Drake appeared in two dozen films from 1933 to 1942, including playing Robert Montgomery's wife in FORSAKING ALL OTHERS (1934) and Richard Carlson's fiancee in THE AFFAIRS OF MARTHA (1943).  While Drake and Grant have muted chemistry, she's lovely, with soulful eyes, and is pleasant to watch.

A fun bonus: Watch for a scene when Anna speaks with another telephone operator, Adele.  Adele was played by Clara Lou Sheridan, very soon to be renamed Ann.

The movie was directed by Frank Tuttle and filmed by Henry Sharp.  Costumes were designed by Travis Banton.

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray print isn't the sharpest image, though it doesn't have overt damage such as major scratches or skips.  While it's the weakest print in the set, it's still quite acceptable, and I found it a pleasure to check out this cute little Cary Grant movie for the first time.

The extras on this disc are trailers for two additional Cary Grant films available from Kino Lorber.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Vienna said...

Must get this set as they are all new to me. Thanks for your review, Laura.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I hope you'll enjoy it! I especially enjoyed this one and BIG BROWN EYES.

Best wishes,

10:15 AM  

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