"No More Ladies" 1935
Cast: Joan Crawford~Robert Montgomery~Charlie Ruggles~Franchot Tone~Edna May Oliver~Gail Patrick~Reginald Denny~Vivenne
Osborne~Joan Burfield~Arthur treacher~David Horsley~Jean Chatburn.
Director: Edward H. Griffith
Costumes by Adrian
Box Office Figures for "Forsaking All Others":
Cost: $765K ~ Domestic Studio Gross: $1,117m. ~ Foreign Studio Gross: $506K
Total: $1,623m. / Profit: $166K
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Stars: 2 1/2
Review: Critics of this film said that Carol Lombard should have played the role instead of Joan Crawford. But, this discounts
the fact that "No More Ladies" was not meant to be a screwball comedy. Based on the play by A.E. Thomas, "No
More Ladies" is a comedy about New York City socialites and the mixed up situations they get themselves in. The play
may have been successful on Broadway, but by the time MGM was through editing and rewriting it, the material was mediocre.
In fact, Rachel Crothers who helped write the screen play was so disgusted with the way MGM forced her to change parts of
her adaptation, (that in turn weakened the plot) she asked to removed from the credits on the film.
Joan plays Marcia Townsend, a socialite who has reluctantly fallen for wealthy playboy Sherry Warren, played by Robert
Montgomery. Marcia tries to hide her love for Sherry; after all, he is responsible for the heartbreaks of several New York
women. Sherry is even responsible for breaking up the marriage of a high society couple; Franchot Tone plays Jim Salston,
the husband of the broken marriage. Edna May Oliver plays Marcias wise, but sarcastic, grandmother Fanny Townsend. Although
her character is minor, Oliver ends up stealing most of the scenes she's in. She's about the only one in the cast who can
deliver the would-be-witty lines in a way that makes the audience light up.
After a night on the town, Sherry realizes he's in love with Marcia and asks her to marry him. Overjoyed, Marcia accepts,
but realizes she still may have to tame the man she loves. Not too long after the marriage, Sherry and his friend, Edgar
Holden, go out for drinks before heading to the train station to meet Marcia and Fanny for a weekend stay at their country
estate. Charles Ruggles plays Edgar, the slurring, stumbling drunk everyone can't help but love. Along with Oliver, Ruggles
character provides the majority of humor throughout the picture. Sherry runs into Therese Germane (played by Gail Patrick)
who was a former nightclub dancer and the two ending up having several drinks. Sherry gets drunk, misses the train and ends
up going home with Therese for a one-night stand. When Marcia finds out what's happened, she's not surprised but still is
furious. Devising a plot to get back at Sherry, Marcia invites several people to the estate for a party. The guests include
Jim Salston, Jim's ex-wife, Diana, who brings her new husband, played by Arthur Treacher, and Therese Germane. When the guests
realize what's going on, they make the best of the situation. Knowing Jim has always liked her, Marcia gets back at Sherry
by running off with Jim for the night. When she returns, Sherry is livid and ready for divorce. Beforehand, Sherry admitted
his failings and was ready to try harder. Although the audience is left to assume Marcia and Jim had a fling, it's never actually
stated. In the end, Sherry and Marcia decide to stay together, realizing what they went through was a test of how much they
love each other.
Anyone who has seen "The Philadelphia Story" and watched this picture cant help but make comparisons. The scenario
is very similar, with ex-husband and wife in awkward social settings, the playboy who can be tamed by only one woman who needs
a bit of work herself, the family and friends who give the sarcastic running commentary of the situations that unfold before
them. For some reason, however, the film just doesn't flow well. There was a great, noticeable effort on the writers parts
to have the dialog witty, sharp and satirical; but because the supporting cast was mediocre and Crawford delivers most of
her cunning lines like she's beside Clark Gable in Chained, the films intended overall effect is lost.
The one unique thing about "No More Ladies" is the viewpoints it presents on marriage. Several of Crawford's
speeches on the subject are quite surprising, given the time in which they were written. Everything she says about marriage
and relationships in the picture can be applied to relationships today.
Joan also wore some extravagant creations by Adrian, one of which is the kite collar on a backless gown Joan wears half
way through the picture; the gown is different from anything he had created up to that point. The most famous costume from
the picture, however, is the suit Joan wears at the train station. The form-fitting dress was made of black crepe, and the
best part about the ensemble is the wide-brim hat she cocks to the side, giving her a diva/gangster look that is stunning.
Look for Joan Fontaine in her first film role in this picture. She was known then as Joan Burfield and plays one of Sherry's
many heart broken women still yearning for him. Crawford did not do badly in the film, and Carol Lombard would have been totally
wrong to play the part. If the film failed, it was because it was poorly written, and the supporting cast, Montgomery and
Tone, were wrong for their parts, particularly Robert Montgomery. "No More Ladies" gets by being mediocre, but its
still a film Crawford fans should see once or twice to appreciate.