|George Montgomery and Dorothy Lamour|
Around the turn of the century, new lawyer George Davis (George Montgomery) stops into a tavern to see a client and is mesmerized by the singer there, a lady named Lulu Belle (Dorothy Lamour). Before long he has ditched his practice and fiancee and taken off to New Orleans with her. Lulu Belle loves George, but she also loves money and the good life, and she gets involved with a boxer named Butch (Greg McClure), his wealthy manager, Mark Brady (Albert Dekker). and eventually a really rich married guy named Randolph (Otto Kruger) who brings her to New York where she becomes a Broadway star. The movie begins with a double-shooting, and then the main story is told in flashbacks narrated by George and then Lulu Belle's friend, Molly (Glenda Farrell). Dorothy Lamour is quite good in a role that seems more suited for Yvonne De Carlo, and George Montgomery, in a very winning performance, makes his character more sympathetic than he should be considering the way he ditched his loving girlfriend as well as some of his subsequent actions. Greg McClure [Sky Liner] has possibly his very best role as Butch, and is terrific, and both Dekker and Kruger [Woman Who Came Back] are as smooth and professional as ever. Both Glenda Farrell and Charlotte Wynters offer flavorful support, the latter in the role of Kruger's wife, and Addison Richards makes an effective police commissioner. There are gaps in the story that were presumably left on the cutting room floor but the movie is unusual in that it doesn't end with an expected clinch but has a more realistic wind-up. Director Leslie Fenton started out as an actor in such films as The Public Enemy. He was also Ann Dvorak's first husband. |The character of "Mark Brady" is most likely based on the real Diamond Jim Brady.
Watching Lulu Belle in the wake of the metoo# movement, one can easily see how it not only illustrates how some men can treat women like mere possessions for their sole pleasure, but the other side of the coin as well -- women who go after men for their own advantage, a sort of mutual exploitation.
Verdict: Absorbing romantic melodrama with good performances. ***.