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

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Diana Barrymore and Kay Francis as mother and daughter
BETWEEN US GIRLS (1942). Director: Henry Koster.

In this very oddball comedy, the actress Carrie Bishop (Diana Barrymore) learns that her mother, Chris (Kay Francis), is engaged to a man, Steven (John Boles), who thinks her daughter is just a little girl. Afraid that he will jilt her mother when he learns that the "little girl" is actually twenty-years-old, she decides to pretend to be a girl of about 12. Things get especially complicated when Steven's associate, Jimmy (Robert Cummings), accuses the "real" Carrie of child abuse after she supposedly hits the child, and then literally socks her, Carrie, in the jaw. Still Carrie stupidly continues the deception ... Francis and Cummings are fine, as is Andy Devine in a lively, likable performance as Carrie's manager, and the picture is nearly stolen by Ethel Griffies as the stony Irish housekeeper, Gallagher. [The scene when Gallagher threatens to quit and packs her bags to the consternation of mother and daughter is the best in the movie]. As for Barrymore, she reveals a real talent in this, but unfortunately is forced to play an idiotic part and perform in several embarrassing sequences. On the other hand she has a splendid moment performing with talented little Scotty Beckett when Carrie plays Queen Victoria in a play. (Her attempts at Sadie Thompson are less successful perhaps because she's deliberately playing too broadly, and her Joan of Arc at the end is only adequate.) Another scene stealer is Lillian Yarbo as the funny, ever-complaining black maid, Phoebe, who claims it was more fun when she was working in a funeral parlor. Francis' hairdo in this is especially grotesque. Between Us Girls has a couple of amusing moments, but it's too strange, poorly scripted, and has a fairly moronic premise as well, from which it never quite recovers.

Verdict: A bizarre curiosity but hardly a good movie. **.

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