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

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Jan Wiley goes into her dance
A FIG LEAF FOR EVE (aka Desirable Lady/1944). Director: Donald Brodie.

 A dancer named Eve (Jan Wiley) is arrested for non-existent "lewdness" but it turns out to be her agent, Dan's (Phil Warren), publicity stunt. But she meets a shady bail bondsman named Hoffman (Eddie Dunn) who tells her she might just be the heir to a hair oil fortune; her life story corresponds to that of an "Eve Westland." Meeting her relatives, the members of the Sardum family, she discovers she has an ally in Uncle Horace (Edward Keane) and his sweet old sister Sarah (Janet Scott), but antagonists in the form of Horace's termagant wife, Lavinia (Betty Blythe), and her daughter, Millicent (Marilyn McConnell), who find her utterly declasse. Will our gal get her fair share of the estate and find true love with Dan? This could have made a cute and funny picture, but it opts for unconvincing melodrama instead. It doesn't even have a decisive wind-up. The acting is okay from a pretty unknown cast, but you can see why Wiley never became a big star; even her dancing isn't that great, and she looked a lot sexier in the serial Secret Agent X-9 made the following year.

Verdict: This is yet another stinky public domain movie retitled for the DVD market.  *1/2.


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