Lorry and Minnie are ex-hookers who leave prison, determined to find the good life with rich men. Along the way Lorry meets and falls in love with cotton barge owner Dan. She must choose ... See full summary »
Gregory La Cava
With her pal Kitty, Eadie Chapman escapes from the sleazy roadhouse run by her mother and stepfather, only to become a showgirl. But her former milieu gave her a poor opinion of easy morals, and she plans to preserve her 'virtue' until marriage...preferably to a rich husband; while Kitty keeps falling for servants. Will playboy Tom Paige break down Eadie's resistance before his cynical father intervenes?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Eadie is looking over the house with T.R. and T.R. Jr., they enter a dark room with large windows. When T.R. goes to turn on the lights, the light coming in through the windows goes out a couple beats before the room lights come on. See more »
Mr. Paige! I don't even know this young man! I never saw him until today. He came out here without an invitation and made himself obnoxious. He's a vulgar vulgarian!
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THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1934), directed by Jack Conway, stars Jean Harlow, the girl actually from Missouri playing the fictional girl named Eadie from Missouri. In typical Depression era style story about gold diggers out to find rich husbands, THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI is no different from the others, but how it's played makes a difference from one movie to the next. While such gold digging types as Joan Blondell, Carole Lombard or many others might have handled similar assignment roles such as this, Jean Harlow does quite well in a light comedy with dramatic overtones.
As the credits roll to the same underscoring that opened Harlow's earlier comedy success of BOMBSHELL (1933), the narrative opens at Mrs. Chapman's Hot Spot, the Best Beer in Missouri, where Edith "Eadie" Chapman (Jean Harlow) manages to sneak away from her unhappy existence of her loose-morals mother (Esther Howard) and unsympathetic stepfather (William "Stage Boyd), by packing up and going away with Kitty Lennihan (Patsy Kelly), her closest friend, on the first train leaving town for New York City. Later, Eadie and Kitty acquire jobs as chorus girls, but that's not enough. Eadie's ambition is to better herself, become somebody and marry a millionaire. Along with the group of chorus girls hired to entertain in the home of Frank Cousins (Lewis Stone) and his guests, Eadie makes a play for the elderly gentleman, unaware that he's broke and in desperate need of money himself. Unable to acquire financial help from millionaire businessman, Thomas Randolph Paige (Lionel Barrymore), Cousins kills himself. Before he dies, however, Cousins has earlier agreed to both an engagement to a girl he hardly knows as well as giving her his expensive gold cuff links as a gift. In fear of being arrested for having the cuff links found on her, she has Mr. Paige, whom she earlier mistook for a butler, to hide it for her from the police. Most appreciative of helping her out of a jam and offering her money, Eadie goes after Paige, president of T.R. Paige and Company, but her presence becomes too much for the elderly gentleman. Going to Palm Beach on a business trip, Eadie, who takes Kitty as her chaperon, follow suit. While waiting outside his office, Eadie is spotted by Paige's son, playboy Tommy Paige (Franchot Tone), who becomes her aggressor. When Mr. Paige discovers his son's love for this blonde chiseler and intends on marrying her, he does everything possible to break their engagement.
Other members of the cast featured are Alan Mowbray (Lord Douglas); Hale Hamilton (Charles W. Turner); Henry Kolker (Senator Ticombe); Clara Blandick (Miss Newberry, Paige's Personal Secretary); and in smaller roles, Charles C. Wilson, Fuzzy Knight and Shirley Ross. Look quickly for Nat Pendleton as the lifeguard whom becomes Patsy Kelly's latest male prospect
Surrounded by such veteran MGM contract players as Lionel Barrymore and Lewis Stone, along with the studio's up and coming Franchot Tone, in his second of four movies opposite Harlow, Patsy Kelly, as the second banana, gathers the most attention described as "the old-fashioned home girl like Mae West." Her wonderful presence and wisecracks are most welcome here. When she's not around in some long stretches, Harlow is on her own, ranging from finding herself a sort of Mae West situation making her presence known while on an all male yacht, to getting revenge on old man Paige for breaking up her engagement to his son. Franchot Tone, in one of his many millionaire playboy types, has his moments of keeping himself from "going cuckoo" from Eadie's charms before letting go and telling her how he really feels while both getting wet under a shower
Following the box-office successes of RED DUST (1932), BOMBSHELL (1933) and DINNER AT EIGHT (1933), THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI (1934), although quite entertaining in its own way, is one of the most overlooked Harlow MGM movies in recent years. Interestingly her only 1934 release, she was to follow this with other developed classics, especially her finest, LIBELED LADY (1936), before her untimely death in June of 1937. Looking very much like a pre-code production, there's indication of how many scenes were changed and altered before the film would win the fade-in title card approval rating from the production code. One wonders how this 73 minute production might have turned out had it been released in theaters before the production code was strictly enforced.
In present toned-down form, it's still enjoyable gold digger themed material after millionaire fluff story. Formerly available on home video in the 1990s, the decade when this long unseen comedy made it to some public television stations, THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI can be seen and studied either watching on DVD or whenever broadcast of Turner Classic Movies cable channel.(***)
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