"Metro tried to co-star us again, but I begged them to let me off, and they did." ~ Joan Crawford on her "Mannequin"
co-star, Spencer Tracy.
Cast: Joan Crawford~Spencer Tracy~Alan Curtis~Ralph Morgan~Mary Phillips~Oscar O'Shea~Elizabeth Risdon~Leo Gorcey.
Director: Frank Borzage
Costumes by Adrian
Box Office Figures for "Mannequin":
Cost: $N/A ~ Domestic Studio Gross: $N/A ~ Foreign Studio Gross: $N/A
Total: $N/A / Profit: $N/A
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Thank you for your review on this film.
Review: "Mannequin," to my mind, is not essential Crawford, but it is still worthwhile with some splendid moments.
Joan Crawford plays Jessie Cassidy, a pretty young woman living in a Hester Street tenement with her mother (Elisabeth Risdon),
ill-tempered father, and younger, wiseacre brother Clifford ("Dead Ends" kid Leo Gorcey). All that is missing from
Gorcey is a white "crowned" cap, the sort that was so popular during that era on "street kids"; he spouts
lines like "Gimme some grass, Mom" (referring to cabbage). Since Crawford has the stunning look of a Hurrell photograph,
she seems as incongruous in the hardscrabble Lower East Side setting, largely Eastern European and Jewish then, as if she
was superimposed there from another film. When good-for-nothing, handsome Eddie Miller (Alan Curtis) asks Jessie to marry
him, she agrees as a way to escape her depressing life. The city was then gentle enough to allow people to visit the Coney
Island beach at night, swim and contemplate the stars. Coney Island was still in its glory and we see stock footage of a glittering
Luna Park similar to that used in "A Double Life." In any case, after marrying, Miller brings his bride to a sweet,
three-room apartment and she is ready to pour her heart and energy into making a home for them, but it quickly becomes apparent
that Miller is rather shiftless like her own father. The apartment is merely borrowed and they are forced to move. Meanwhile,
self-made millionaire John Hennessy (Spencer Tracy) meets the couple and falls in love with Jessie at first sight. When Miller
makes an untenable suggestion to Jessie, they wind up divorcing and Hennessy and Jessie marry. At first tentative about him,
she grows to love Hennessy, although her first husband is still casting a dark shadow over the couple.
The film is pleasant enough but isn't one of the finer Crawford vehicles, to my mind. Crawford plays, as one critic put
it, "tender, strong, heroic, and regal," but the "shopgirl" formula was running a bit thin. The interlude
where Jessie is working as a "mannequin" and modeling clothes seemed to sum up the contrived or shallow feeling
to the film. Also, although Spencer Tracy and Crawford give good, game performances, they have no special chemistry together.
A wonderful moment, however, practically worth the whole film, is when Crawford sings "Always and Always"; it is
so incredibly touching and truly romantic. Beyond that, the film remains pleasant, but not the very best of Crawford's canon.