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

Monday, September 22, 2008

PLAY GIRL


PLAY GIRL (1940). Director: Frank Woodruff.
"She's said good-bye to more men than most women have said hello to."
Grace Herbert (Kay Francis, pictured) has unapologetically made a living by romancing wealthy men and suing them for breach of promise. Unfortunately, the game is getting tougher as she gets older. Along comes orphaned, hungry Ellen Daley (Mildred Coles), whom Grace decides to make her protege. Their first target is Grace's old pal Bill Vincent (Nigel Bruce), but Ellen also has her eye on a handsome rancher named Thomas (James Ellison). It's hard to believe that Ellen would be so upset that Thomas is worth millions, but she's afraid Grace will get her hooks in him -- and maybe she will. Despite the unconvincing attitudes and actions of the protege, Play Girl is an amusing and appealing trifle with a nicely sentimental wind-up. Francis gives a top-notch performance as the world-weary Grace, and Coles and Ellison do a fine job as the young lovers. Margaret Hamilton has a few funny moments as Grace's friend and housekeeper, although you kind of wish Eve Arden was along for the ride. Bruce is a lot of fun as the lovable if slightly buffoonish Bill.
Verdict: A winner for Kay! ***

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