Careless Lady Film Details
Overview: Innocent Sally Brown (Joan Bennett) thinks men are only attracted to experienced women, so she poses as the wife of an unmarried businessman on a trip to Paris.
Review: The only good comedies that I’ve seen Joan Bennett in are a couple with Cary Grant toward the end of the 1930s. Bennett was okay as an actress, quite good in some dramatic and mystery roles. But her persona in comedy comes across as someone who’s ready to jump off a bridge or about ready to break down in tears. Her sour-puss face just doesn’t go well with comedy. And, Greta Garbo she is not. The plot for this comedy romance had real possibilities for humor, but the screenplay is weak and there just isn’t enough good dialog to make it funny. There is absolutely no situational humor here. And the cast Fox put together for this one mostly seem canned. The only loose, comfortable and natural acting cast members are Josephine Hull and Martha Mattox who play Bennett’s aunts, and John Boles as Stephen Illington. Opposite him, Bennett comes across as stiff, withdrawn, and bored. Her Sally Brown is as emotionless as a twig throughout the film. And the wealthy socialites in Paris are dull cardboard cutouts. The plot has some holes big enough to drive a truck through. For instance, in the opening scene, Sally is sitting on the roof of a car watching a golf tournament through binoculars. Her divorced cousin, Ardis Delafield, is sitting in the car. Sally says, “Oh, look! Here they come.” And the scene segues to a green with two golfers ready to putt. One has to wonder at the screenwriters and director who wouldn’t see a problem in a spectator seeing someone coming or approaching on a golf course when they are actually standing and putting on a golf green. Then when this shy, innocent girl leaves her aunts to go abroad on her own, she seems to have a wealth of money to spend on expensive clothes right away in New York and then Paris. Was she going abroad to study or sight-see, or what? The audience knows that whatever her intended purpose was, she had a change in plans to get experience so that she might attract men. The plot idea for this film is a good one – a woman assumes an ID as the wife of someone she didn’t know. That’s the kind of stuff that great comedy can come from. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be in this film. Most of the rest of the movie is Sally flighting about with some wealthy socialites in Paris, all of whom seem just to sit around all day drinking and gossiping. It’s a real bore. And the idea of any romance is a real stretch. There’s no spark at all in Sally Brown. The film clearly has a message toward the end, but the moral aspect of the futility in chasing after happiness just comes as a sort of dud to end this film. Oh, Stephen persists and Sally finally wakes up at the end. But what a dreadfully drawn out morality tale. It could have been really something as a comedy with a lesson learned at the end. My four stars are mostly for the aunts and for Illington’s cheerful perkiness that otherwise keeps this film from sliding completely into the doldrums. There were some very good dramas and many good comedy, romance and musical films made in 1932 to help people take their minds off the Great Depression. This movie might have had the opposite effect – if many people even went to see it. It must have fared so poorly at the box office that it doesn’t even appear among the 150 movies listed for 1932 in the Ultimate Movie Rankings. The worst of those had only $200,000 in U. S. ticket sales. Here’s the only exchange of dialog with any humor and life. Sally, dancing with Stephen, “So you’d like to beat me, would you?” Stephen, “Yes! I’d like to give you a good old-fashioned spanking.” Sally, “Right here?” Stephen, “No – in the usual place.”
Country: United States
Language: English, French
Duration: 68 min
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Also known as: Mulheres e Aparências,En nydelig skandale,La irreflexiva,Et letsindigt Pigebarn,Parthenos zontohira,Careless Lady,Kvinnor män älska