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No More Ladies
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MGM. 79 minutes. US release: 6/14/35.
DVD release: 4/6/10.
Cast: Joan Crawford (as "Marcia Townshend Warren"), Robert Montgomery, Charlie Ruggles, Franchot Tone, Edna May Oliver, Gail Patrick, Reginald Denny, Vivienne Osborne, Joan Burfield (aka Joan Fontaine), Arthur Treacher, David Horsley, Jean Chatburn.
Credits: Based on the play by A.E. Thomas. Screenplay: Donald Ogden Stewart and Horace Jackson. Producer: Irving Thalberg. Director: Edward H. Griffith and George Cukor. (Cukor took over after Griffith became ill, but did not receive a screen credit.) Camera: Oliver T. Marsh. Costumes: Adrian. Editor: Frank E. Hull.
Plot Summary: MGM regularly churned out films in the 1930s that were all "star power" and very little plot. No More Ladies is a good example of this. Joan Crawford marries bon vivant Robert Montgomery, hoping to mend his wastrel ways. Montgomery refuses to assumes the proper responsibilities of a husband, so Crawford tries to make him jealous by taking up with Franchot Tone. Everyone involved has limitless money, beautiful clothes and all the time in the world to spend on the trivialities of the plotline. Depression era audiences loved to see good-looking people in sumptuous sets, so No More Ladies was a success. The fact that, when asked, these audiences couldn't remember a single thing about the story was beside the point. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Total Gross: $1,623,000 ($166,000 profit)
The A.E. Thomas play upon which the film was based opened in New York City on 1/23/34 and ran for 176 performances.
The film was in production from 3/12/35 to 4/35.
Rachel Crothers had her screenplay credit removed upon request after complaining that her work was butchered.
Andre Sennwald in the New York Times (June 22, 1935)
' No More Ladies,' a Film Version of the A. E. Thomas Play, at the Capitol -- 'Princess Charming.'
The kind of class which Eadie (who was a lady) used to spell with a capital K has been expensively buttered on the motion picture version of "No More Ladies," which opened at the Capitol Theatre yesterday. Joan Crawford has it, Robert Montgomery has it, the dialogue has it, Adrian's gowns have it, and the opulent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer sets have it. The photoplay, despite its stage ancestry, is out of the same glamour factory as Miss Crawford's "Forsaking All Others." If it is less furiously arch than that modern classic of sledgehammer whimsey, it is also somewhat less successful as entertainment. Out of the labors of the brigade of writers who tinkered with the screen play, there remain a sprinkling of nifties which make for moments of hilarity in an expanse of tedium and fake sophistication.
Although the film preserves the skeleton of A. E. Thomas's stage comedy, it has been upholstered as a vehicle for exhibiting the distinguished personalities of Miss Crawford and Mr. Montgomery. With that fetching smirk which has made him America's dream boy, Mr. Montgomery is pretending to be a devil with the women, a fabulous blend of Rudolph Valentino and Peter Pan. In a careless moment he allows himself to be lured into matrimony by an intense young woman, Miss Crawford, who is confident of her ability to hold him. When he returns to his old ways, his wife decides to teach him a lesson. Thereupon she organizes a week-end party composed of the people whose lives he has messed up during his career as a bounder. She herself dashes off into the night with Franchot Tone, pretending that she, too, is going to play hob with the marriage vows.
The photoplay keeps a comic drunk and a comic Englishman on the sidelines for use in those frequent emergencies when the glamour becomes lumpy. Although Donald Ogden Stewart has contributed several really funny lines, the screen play is chiefly notable for its surface shimmer, the hollowness of its wit and the insincerity of its emotions. The sophistication of "No More Ladies" is the desperate pretense of the small girl who smears her mouth with lipstick and puts on sister's evening gown when the family is away. It ought to make a very respectable profit.
Howard Barnes in the New York Herald Tribune (1935):
Miss Crawford's portrayal of Marcia...is incisive but unconvincing. The sophistication of her attitude towards matrimony and life is less a mood of her own creation than a pattern of gestures and spoken lines. She is handsome and engagingly defiant in the scene that brings together her husband's former conquests and marks her attempt to pay him back in kind for his infidelity, but on the whole hers is not a distinguished performance.
TV Guide.com:A slick "formula" film with gorgeous costumes, lots of pseudo-witty lines, and an excellent cast, none of which can make up for the manufactured nature of the screenplay. Nonetheless, it's still good fun and has enough humor going for it to make this a pleasant diversion....Glamorous and well-produced, No More Ladies made a few dollars for the studio.
If you've seen No More Ladies and would like to share your review here, please e-mail me. Include, if you like, a picture of yourself to accompany your review, as well as a star-rating (with 5 stars the best) and any of your favorite lines from the film.
Michael Lia (October 2009)
Rating: - 1/2 of 5
I desperately want to elevate this movie to a higher ground. It does have a lot going for it, and it has always intrigued me... Maybe it is just the lighting by Oliver T. Marsh that keeps me somewhat impressed, or is it Miss Crawford’s all white silky bedroom or Edna Mae Oliver? I don’t know. But I keep watching it.
Donald Ogden Stewart’s screenplay keeps me wondering what else he could have done to the script. I have only a vague history of the play by A.E. Thomas. Despite a half-dozen other writers working on the script, not much remains of the original play. It is quite open about adultery and Miss Crawford trying to hold on to her husband. The dialogue can sparkle at times, but I doubt any actress could have done as well as Miss Crawford did.
George Cukor was called in to bat for an ailing director (E.H. Griffith); he no doubt tried adding some stage technique to the proceedings, along with stage veterans Charles Ruggles, , Arthur Treacher, and osh, for a “motion picture actress,” Joan can hold her own with these stage-trained actors! They elevate the comic tones and it plays well!
Charlie Ruggles and “Dame” Edna Mae Oliver try to lighten things up, and they do! Miss Oliver is as brash and candid as her high-balls and chess game! She is entertaining and does steal the show. She is a true character, always giving her best. She makes something of “grandma” and has the best lines in the movie! Lucky lady!
Mr. Montgomery is very comfortable giving Miss Crawford a hard, dishonest time. His comedy is always smooth and enjoyable. He can play off anybody and balances his dashing cad character with a touch of devilish fun.
continues to climb higher; after this film she begins a round of “the other woman” and “mean girl” roles, to everyone’s advantage. Her career slumps later, but she stays in the business, creating and producing the “Perry Mason” series on television.
Joan Fontaine appears in her first screen role under the name “Joan Burfield." It was not an auspicious beginning. She flutters around a nightclub, and with bad hair and an awful dress she flits away. I moan at such a wasteful introduction or no introduction at all.
MGM is lavish in the production and lets Miss Crawford glimmer throughout! The supporting cast makes this film well worth viewing, and that is why I like it!
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