For my first entry of the May 2021 Star Of The Month blogathon featuring Cary Grant, we’ve got his 1934 comedy Ladies Should Listen, also starring Frances Drake. As always, I’ve got a theatrical short to start things off!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Smile Pretty, Say Pink (1966)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) from Kino Lorber)
(Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)
The Pink Panther takes on an amateur photographer visiting a national park. It’s another cartoon with the Pink Panther going against the Little Man, to great effect! The gags are fun, as the Panther keeps ruining photos, much to the consternation of the Little Man (of course, the Little Man pulls off a small victory in the end). I enjoyed this one, and it’s certainly worth seeing periodically!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Bachelor Julian De Lussac (Cary Grant) has arrived home in Paris after a trip to Chile. He is greeted by his friend Paul Vernet (Edward Everett Horton) and Paul’s “friend” (although he wants to marry her) Susi Flamberg (Nydia Westman). While they give Julian a ride home, he tells them about a nitrate mine concession he had bought in Chile. However, they are interrupted by a flirtatious female driver, whom Julian goes off with. Later on, she calls Julian to tell him she is leaving him, and he threatens to kill himself (not really, but he hopes the sound of the gunshot over the phone will bring her running). It brings somebody running alright: telephone operator Anna Mirelle (Frances Drake)! She reveals that she had been listening in on his calls, and reveals the full name of the girl he was going with (he had only known her first name previously): Marguerite Cintos (Rosita Moreno). Not only that, Marguerite is a married woman! Still, much to Anna’s dismay, Julian is interested in Marguerite, even when her husband Ramon Cintos (Rafael Corio) comes around looking for his wife. On her own time, Anna finds out from other telephone operators that Marguerite and Ramon are trying to get the nitrate option, either by getting Julian out of the country to let it expire, or by forcing him to give it to them. Since Julian won’t listen to her, Anna decides to try another method. She gets Susi to keep him around, but Susi’s father, Joseph Flamberg (George Barbier), comes in and threatens a shotgun wedding (which was not in Anan’s plan). Will Julian be able to get out of all this trouble, or will he be shot/ have to go through with the wedding (much to Paul’s dismay)?
This movie is still fairly early in Cary Grant’s career, and it indeed feels that way, as his screen persona is still not fully formed. Don’t get me wrong, he definitely shows a flair for comedy, which is necessary in this movie. Admittedly, some of the differences in his performance may have to do with the film’s timing, as far as the Code being in effect. His character is a bit sleazier than we would normally expect, in between his fake suicide, plus the device he and his butler have rigged up that will simulate the sounds of a thunderstorm (in order to keep his lady friends from leaving, of course). Still, it’s fun to see how he slowly pulled together the persona that he would soon become famous for!
As a whole, this is a decent movie in my opinion. The story itself isn’t really the reason to see the movie, as it’s only so-so. The cast are what makes this movie worth giving a try. As I said, Cary Grant is good, and pretty ably carries the film. Edward Everett Horton is, as always, a hoot, as his character hopes to marry Nydia Westman’s character (and then becomes frustrated with his own friend when he ends up engaged to her instead). And, speaking of Nydia Westman, she’s also very good here, from her klutziness as she falls into Cary Grant’s arms several times, to her own actions as she tries to gain his affections. Frances Drake is decent here as Grant’s love interest, but, compared to the other three, not as good. There is some fun humor to be enjoyed with this movie (not as much as Cary Grant’s later, and far better, screwball comedies, but still some). I enjoyed getting the chance to see it, and I would certainly recommend giving it a try!
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Ladies Should Listen (1934)
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the three film Cary Grant Collection from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. It’s a decent HD transfer, one that certainly seems crisp most of the time. There are some spots that don’t look quite as good, and there are some other minor imperfections, but, considering it’s not a well-known movie, it’s likely as good as we can hope for (especially only being available in that three-film Blu-ray set).
Film Length: 1 hour, 1 minute
My Rating: 7/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Alice In Wonderland (1933) – Cary Grant – Big Brown Eyes (1936)
Alice In Wonderland (1933) – Edward Everett Horton – The Devil Is A Woman (1935)
Cary Grant Collection – Big Brown Eyes (1936)