3 user 2 critic

Working Girls (1931)

Two sisters, May, older, naive, and June, younger and worldly, arrive in New York straight from the country and settle down in a boarding house. Their search for jobs leads them to find beaus and romantic trouble.


Dorothy Arzner


Zoe Akins, Vera Caspary (play) | 1 more credit »


Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Wild girls at a college pay more attention to parties than their classes. But when one party girl, Stella Ames, goes too far at a local bar and gets in trouble, her professor has to rescue ... See full summary »

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Clara Bow, Fredric March, Marceline Day
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A famous female flier and a member of Parliament drift into a potentially disastrous affair.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Colin Clive, Billie Burke
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap who leaves the struggling troupe for a career in burlesque. When the company ... See full summary »

Directors: Dorothy Arzner, Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Louis Hayward, Lucille Ball
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drunken newspaperman is rescued from his alcoholic haze by an heiress whose love sobers him up and encourages him to write a play, but he lapses back into dipsomania.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Adrianne Allen
Craig's Wife (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A domineering woman marries a wealthy man for his money, and then uses her position to further her own ambitions for money and power.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Rosalind Russell, John Boles, Billie Burke
Nana (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Nana is a 1934 American Pre-Code film, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, released through United Artists, starring Anna Sten. and directed by Dorothy Arzner and George Fitzmaurice. This version ... See full summary »

Directors: Dorothy Arzner, George Fitzmaurice
Stars: Anna Sten, Phillips Holmes, Lionel Atwill
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, Clive Brook, Paul Lukas
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Count Armalia believes that the luck of birth is all that separates the rich from the poor. To test his theory, he sends Anni, who is a singer in a dive, to a ritzy resort for two weeks. ... See full summary »

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Joan Crawford, Franchot Tone, Robert Young
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Babs and Bob leave their small-town life after graduating from college and go to New York in an effort to make the Broadway big time. Mrs. Renov, the wife of a theatrical producer, develops... See full summary »

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Richard Arlen, Danny O'Shea
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Jerry Stafford, a businessman, is in love with his secretary but she deserts him for another man. When she realizes her mistake, she goes back to him. Doris Brown is her girlfriend who is in love with a man named Monty Dunn.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fredric March, Monroe Owsley
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Nicole Larsen is detested by her countrymen because they suspect she is collaborating with the occupying Germans. In reality she is working for the Norwegian underground, risking her life passing secrets to the resistance fighters.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Merle Oberon, Brian Aherne, Carl Esmond
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In Philadelphia, a small-time bookie who stole mob money is in hiding and he begs a childhood friend to help him evade the hit-man who's on his trail.

Director: Elaine May
Stars: Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty


Cast overview:
Judith Wood ... June Thorpe
Dorothy Hall Dorothy Hall ... Mae Thorpe
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Boyd Wheeler
Paul Lukas ... Dr. Joseph Von Schrader
Stuart Erwin ... Pat Kelly
Frances Dee ... Louise Adams
Mary Forbes ... Mrs. Johnstone
Frances Moffett Frances Moffett ... Lou Hollings
Claire Dodd ... Jane
Dorothy Stickney ... Loretta
Alberta Vaughn ... Violet


Two sisters have arrived in New York straight from the country and settle down in one of those boarding houses for single women. May, the older, is a bit naive, while June, the younger, is much more worldly and world-wise. The next day, they go out looking for jobs and June makes sure her older sister gets one, while she snags herself a job and a saxophone playing beau named Pat Kelly. May also finds a beau, Boyd Wheeler, a young lawyer with a degree from Harvard. While June enjoys herself and the presents she gets from Kelly, May falls more and more in love with Boyd and rejects a proposal from her boss, archaeologist Dr. von Schrader, who then fires her. Without a job, May is free to spend even more time with Boyd, despite her sister's warnings. She is heartbroken when she learns that Boyd has gotten engaged to a society girl. June does her best to comfort her sister and decides to ask Dr. von Schrader to hire May again. Since von Schrader has fallen in love with June, he rehires ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


YYOU KNOW THESE THREE MEN and you'll know the girls a lot better when you see Working Girls -working men- in Paramount's gay, gossipy comedy of life and love and laughter on $18 a week. (Print Ad- Newburgh News, ((Newburgh NY)) 8 January 1932)









Release Date:

12 December 1931 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original play, "Blind Mice" by Vera Caspary and Winifred Lenihan, premiered on Broadway at the Times Square Theatre on October 15th, 1930, and ran for a mere 14 performances. The opening night cast included Betty Breckenridge, Claiborne Foster, Hallie Manning, Gloria Shea (billed as Olive Shea) and Geraldine Wall. Unlike the film, the play has an all-female cast and takes place entirely within one room of the Rolfe House, the women's hostel where the film opens. The play was itself a reworking of Caspary's novel "Music in the Street" published by Grosset & Dunlap in December, 1929. See more »


June Thorpe: I'm having dinner with a gentleman I just met.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Finally, Some Evidence of Directorial Talent
30 August 2015 | by joe-pearce-1See all my reviews

I've been hearing and reading a rather elevated evaluation of Dorothy Arzner's talents as Hollywood's first reasonably important female director, but based on what I had seen to date, I felt this to be another of those 'social' reevaluations endemic to feminist/lesbian work of the period (well, whatever we assume there was of it). Maybe not, after all.

Although this film has a screenplay so full of holes that almost nothing the characters do makes sense in relation to what they have previously done or will do, it is still a basically likable movie, because most of the characters in it are likable, if, as in the case of those played by Judith Wood and Dorothy Hall, fairly dizzy if not downright dopey. Wood is really quite good most of the time (given the 1931 requirements for voice projection and naturalness of delivery), and if Hall's voice is the kind that, in a different context, would make sandpaper feel like velvet, she, too, gets her character across. Neither of these actresses went anywhere (indeed, this was Hall's last film), but it seems to me that Wood might have stood a chance if handled properly. Everybody else in the film - Lukas (always a charming actor, even when playing villains), Erwin (maybe the most underrated comic leading man of this early period), and to a lesser extent Rogers (not terrible, but somewhat vacuous), and all the girls at the rooming house they inhabit, are good.

But what makes the film jell even as much as it does is Arzner's direction of somewhat inferior material. She uses the camera beautifully, even in scenes that wouldn't seem to require anything in the way of special concern, and there are a couple of montages that would do credit to directors of considerable superior reputations. In other words (and real movie lovers will know exactly what I mean), the film evidences a certain amount of real directorial care in its execution. The purported "lesbian" element in the early part of the film is, I think, seen to exist where it may not, probably because Arzner was known to be gay. But the early scenes which show the girls dancing with each other at home are not really very lesbian in nature, since 1) there are only girls in the rooming house, and if they want to dance, who else would they dance with?, and 2) it may be forgotten that lots of very straight women used to dance with each other at parties and the like right up into the 1960s, usually because their boy friends or husbands were lousy dancers or just didn't want to engage in Terpsichorean endeavors (my mother, aunt, some early girl friends at high school and birthday parties, etc. used to do so all the time, and nobody even thought of such an ulterior motive!). If you don't believe me, just watch some of the old Dick Clark afternoon teenage dance shows of the 1950s.

Anyway, an enjoyable little movie, one that will not put Arzner up there with John Ford or William Wyler, but one which she could have pointed to with a modicum of pride.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed