Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1931. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Zoe Akins, based on the play by Vera Caspary, Winifred Lenihan. Cinematography by Harry Fischbeck. Music by Ralph Rainger. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by Jane Loring.
Dorothy Hall and Judith Wood have just moved to the Big Apple from nowhere, Indiana and are ready to take on the big city as ambitious, modern women. Getting residence in a respectable boarding house for single ladies, they hit the streets looking for work and find it, older sister Mae (Hall) as a secretary to a kindly scientist (Paul Lukas) and younger but more streetwise June (Wood) as a telegraph operator at a fancy hotel. Their love lives get complicated very quickly thanks to Mae falling in love with a well-heeled commitment-phobe (Charles Buddy Rogers) and, when that goes south, she decides to accept the older and less exciting Lukas’s marriage proposal. June is happy to play the field but doesn’t mind flirting with a gainfully employed musician (Stuart Erwin) for the gifts, and because it’s a pre-Code movie directed by the razor-sharp wit of Dorothy Arzner, she’s never punished for her liberal spirit. It all leads to a zany conclusion involving shotguns and a trip to city hall, but what’s at the heart of this wonderfully directed, energetic comedy is the relationship of two sisters who gripe at each other lovingly and always have each other’s backs.