Working Girls (1931)

DOROTHY ARZNER

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 1931Screenplay by , based on the play by Cinematography by Music by .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by .

and 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 () 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.

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