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

Thursday, October 1, 2009


THREE GIRLS ABOUT TOWN (1941). Director: Leigh Jason.

Hope (Joan Blondell) and Faith Banner (Binnie Barnes) are hostesses at a hotel that caters to male conventioneers out for a good time. The more upstanding ladies of the city want to close the hotel down and essentially accuse the two women of being hookers. When a dead body (Walter Soderling) is discovered in one of the rooms, the girls panic, afraid that a murder will surely get the place shut down for good. In the meantime Hope's boyfriend, reporter Tommy Hopkins (John Howard), realizes the dead man is the negotiator who has come to mediate a labor dispute, and wants to scoop other papers with the story of his death. There begins a supposedly comical moving about of the corpse that reminds one of later films The Trouble with Harry and Weekend with Bernie. Added complications include the fact that hotel manager Wilberforce Puddle (Robert Benchley) wants to marry Faith, and the arrival of third sister Charity (Janet Blair) who makes a play for Tommy and is always kissing him. And we musn't forget the drunk conventioneer (Eric Blore) who is always asking for "Charlie." Nobody ever expresses the slightest sympathy for the dead man (although there's a twist where that's concerned). Blore nearly walks off with the picture, not that that's such a great feat in a movie that has only exactly two laughs. Even the scene when Tommy brings the corpse to a poker game falls flat. [Of course someone refers to the dead man, who's won at poker, as a "lucky stiff." Ha, ha.) The actors give it their best, but this is a monumentally stupid "comedy" that lacks the light touch it needs and becomes a positive effort to sit through.

Verdict: Atrocious. *.

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