Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, April 25, 2008


LILY TURNER (1933). Director: William A. Wellman.

Lily (Ruth Chatterton) has lousy luck with men. Her first husband, Rex (Gordon Westcott) deserts her after she gets pregnant and turns out to be a bigamist. Her second husband, Dave (Frank McHugh), marries her to make her respectable again, but prefers drinking to anything else and the marriage is never consummated. Finally Lily meets handsome, virile Bob (George Brent), while both are working for a shifty shiller of magical elixirs and the like, Doc McGill (Guy Kibbee). Frustrated horniness seems to be the sub-theme of this movie, with everyone -- including the demented strongman Fritz (Robert Barrat) -- either lusting for Lily or for Bob, who "sends" Mrs. McGill (Marjorie Gateson). This is an odd -- and oddly likable picture -- with good performances from the cast, and a somewhat poignant, if inconclusive, conclusion. This could have used an extra fifteen minutes or so to strengthen the story and characters, but it isn't half bad.

Verdict: Holds the attention. ***.

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