Confessions of a Co-Ed (1931) Poster

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Secret life of College Co-Eds
kidboots23 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The title sounds very much like an expose' but as the credits and music start it seems to have more in common with "College Sweeties"!!! Sylvia Sidney made some marvelous movies but for every "Street Scene" (1931) or "City Streets" (1931) there was a "Confessions of a Co-Ed" (1931) or a "Behold, My Wife" (1934). "Confessions of a Co-Ed" was heralded as the first authentic college drama but it was anything but, being such a sloppy soap opera that no one wanted to take credit for the script.

Patricia (gorgeous Sylvia Sidney) is a freshman and keen to get on with her life at college.Campus romeo, Dan (Philips Holmes), is completely smitten with her but sorority bad girl Peggy (delicious Claudia Dell) has her eye on him as well. Patricia thinks she has found her ideal man but Peggy puts her wise - Dan is hers!!! (Dan is completely oblivious to Peggy's "charms" - he doesn't really like her). That doesn't stop him taking Peggy out "necking" one night (Pat is giving him the "air") on a road patrolled by police - they are spotted and in the pursuit a policeman is thrown off his bike.

In the ensuing "scandal" Peggy comes forward as the owner of the vanity case that was found in the abandoned car and is thrown out of college. She confesses to Pat that Dan was with her under duress - he never stopped thinking of Pat!!! Pat has now become Hal's (Norman Foster) girl but she secretly loves Dan. She and Dan finally make up on a ski trip. Hal is upset and goes to the dean with the confession that it was Dan in the car with Peggy and Dan is expelled. Dan thinks that Pat told on him and Hal (the fink!!!) who is with him, does not confess - he even offers Dan money ($120) to see him on his way!!!! Peggy comes back to collect some dresses and when Pat tells her the "news" Peggy's manipulations go into high gear. She tells Pat to go after Hal and trap him into marriage, which she does but very unwillingly!!!

After 3 years Dan comes back and is invited by Hal to his home to meet his wife - Pat!!! The ending is quite startling. None of the players are sympathetic - at least Pat suffers with her deceit. Hal alternates between being a doormat and being particularly vindictive, especially in his scene at the end.

Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys appeared early on at a school dance. Bing (even with an awful hairpiece) was the emerging star, with Philips Holmes even shouting "Hello Bing" at him - a sure sign of Crosby's growing celebrity. He croons "Out of Nowhere", a huge hit of the year from Paramount's "Dude Ranch" and then the boys join him for a rollicking "Ya Got Love" - a chance to see why the Rhythm Boys were so popular.

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dated and how
bkoganbing8 April 2004
Sylvia Sidney was a fine actress who did a whole lot of good films in her career as a leading lady and then in her later years as a portrayer of old Jewish dowagers. But I'm sure she'd like to forget this one of a young jazz age college girl who gets pregnant with the foreseeable consequences given the mores of 1931.

However this affords an opportunity to see a young Bing Crosby with the trio that he was a member of with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, the Rhythm Boys. The other members of the trio are Harry Barris and Al Rinker. They play at a fraternity house party in the first 10 minutes of the film.

Shortly after this, Bing went out on his own and the rest they say, is history.
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Another American tragedy for Sylvia Sidney, this time without a wet ending.
mark.waltz6 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Today, most film audiences remember Sylvia Sidney as the cantankerous old lady who ordered Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis to read the handbook in "Beetlejuice" and saved the world from aliens through hideous Slim Whitman music in "Mars Attacks!" But prior to her days as a funny grouch, Sidney was one of the great American movie stars, somewhat typecast as girls from the slums, but on occasion given something other than that. In this film, she's a serious college student who ignores flirtations when first on campus, but can't help but not resist college hero Phillips Holmes (her co-star from "An American Tragedy") who leaves her high and dry after being expelled for immoral behavior with another student. Bluntly, he is the campus playboy, seducing the various co-eds then dumping them, and in the case of Sylvia, gets her pregnant and leaves her without so much as a goodbye. Of course, he's unaware that she was pregnant, but we find out only because she learns third hand that he's left and runs upstairs crying, obviously in trouble about something. This is where the plot gets strange. She marries Norman Foster, whom we're lead to believe is aware that Holmes is the father of her baby, but when Holmes returns five years into their marriage, it appears that Foster has thought that he was the father all along and accuses Sidney of having deceived him. Sidney must make a decision for not only her own benefit, but the benefit of her cute little boy (Dickie Moore) who takes one look at Holmes and says, "I like you." Considering that both Moore and Holmes are blonde and Foster is dark haired, it is obvious who the father is.

While this gives a nice look at the life on the college campuses of the early 1930's during the depression and explores many of the social aspects of the lives of young adults at the time, this isn't completely satisfying other than the sincere performances of the leads, especially Sylvia Sidney. The twists and turns it makes, especially towards the end, are inconsistent with things that were explored earlier. The film does indicate the loyalty of the sorority sisters in the fact that when one girl (Claudia Dell) is revealed to have been a passenger in a car that had an accident allegedly after curfew, they refuse to name names when threatened with suspension. Still, they are quite different than the youth of later eras in the fact that they obviously still judge her for alleged immoral behavior. A dance sequence features Bing Crosby as himself along with the Rhythm Boys (having earlier appeared in Universal's big color musical revue "King of Jazz") when Bing was a recording idol and not yet a movie star. After one more film as himself ("The Big Broadcast"), he was able to swing into becoming a star in films himself, but most people are unaware that he had been in films for a while. That aspect alone makes this film worth searching out, even though the film overall is not all that great.
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Despite the salacious content, it's not particularly interesting...or very good.
MartinHafer16 April 2018
"Confessions of a Co-Ed" is a terribly dated and dull film. It's also odd because its both highly moralistic AND extremely salacious...a strange Pre-Code combination!

The story is set at a college, yet, like so many films you NEVER see anyone go to class or do much of anything related to school. Instead, much of the students' energies seem to be focused on scoring....though words like pregnancy and the like are never used. Instead, it's all strongly implied.

Patricia (Sylvia Sidney) is a new student and the male students seem gaga about her...especially Hal and Dan. Dan is a bit of a ladies man and seems bent on scoring with Patricia. Hal is secretly a weasel who who do anything to get Patricia. What's next? See the film.

The movie is a confusing morality tale. On one hand it comes off as rather old fashioned and severe....but on the other it seems to espouse the morality you'd see in a post-code film. As a result, it's weird...and not particularly good.

If you do watch the film, look for Bing Crosby in one of his earliest film roles. He plays himself, by the way. Also, the child in the story is played by Dickie Moore...a child actor who played babies and small children in a bazillion films!
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