Forgotten Women (December 1, 1931)

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Marion Shilling and Rex Bell
 

Released on December 1, 1931: A rising star newspaper reporter sleeps with his girlfriend before returning to his fiancé, so his girlfriend turns to a gangster for solace.

Produced by M.H. Hoffman

Directed by Richard Thorpe

The Actors: Marion Shilling (Patricia Young), Beryl Mercer (Fern Madden), Rex Bell (Jimmy Burke), Virginia Lee Corbin (Sissy Salem), Carmelita Geraghty (Helen Turner), Edna Murphy (Trixie de Forrester), Edward Earle (Sleek Moran), Jack Carlyle (Dugan), Eddie Kane (Producer Swineback), Gordon De Main (Walrus, city editor), William Beaudine (the director), Thomas A. Curran (Mr. Turner), Billy Franey (Mr. Flannigan the ice man), William H. O'Brien (Sleek's butler), Dorothy Vernon (Miss Mallory the landlady), Charles Williams (stagehand)

 

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The Wages of Success, or The Lady is a Tramp

This early talking picture starts out as a movie about the movie business, but quickly turns into a gangster flick. The opening scene is of a movie set where we meet three gals trying to become famous actresses, and the director, who is trying to grind out a scene before the day is over. No one else would have you take a good look at the ‘director’ in the fake movie scene instead of the three leading ladies, but I think he is worth a good look. William Beaudine was a real movie director, although he did not direct this motion picture. He merely acted as the ‘director’ in the scene we are watching being filmed. Records of many of his early works were not kept well, but it is possible that William Beaudine directed more motion pictures and television shows between 1915 and 1966 than any other person ever before or since. In this opening scene he is in front of the camera instead of behind it, and that makes it a very unique and rare scene. Now on to the pre-code story that could never be shown during the 1934-1968 movie censoring years.

Patricia is a movie ‘extra’ who works once in a while but is mostly broke and out of work. She loves Jimmy, an aspiring newspaper reporter for the Hollywood Sun, and he is about to get his big break when East Coast gangster Sleek Moran hits town. Once Jimmy becomes famous as a newspaper man he will be able to take his sweetheart Pat into his arms and they can ‘sit on the moon’ looking down on the world. Thanks to the old lady actress living with Pat, he gets his big break by exposing the gangster’s plans, and Jimmy becomes the city editor and the rising star at the newspaper. But suddenly this gangster flick turns into a destructive romantic triangle when the beautiful and sophisticated young daughter of the newspaper owner decides to make Jimmy her man.

This is where it gets very interesting and very sticky-shocking for 1931 movie fans . . . . Heck, the way this situation plays out is shocking, though not rare, even today. Jimmy is working long hours at the newspaper but faithful Pat still waits for him with stars in her eyes . . . But Jimmy is living it up in grand party style with Helen, the publisher’s daughter. On this night Helen proposes to Jimmy, telling him that if he marries her, Papa will give him the newspaper one day and he will be one of the wealthiest men in town. Jimmy is all over that proposition, and it looks like it is curtains for longtime sweetheart Pat. The next night, on Friday the 13th, Jimmy takes sweetheart Pat on a drive to the ocean so that he can tell her about his engagement to Helen before it hits the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, when Jimmy is next to Pat, his will weakens, and when Pat declares that they should elope right then, he accepts . . . . . This guy just cannot say ‘no’ to a pretty girl.

Pat packs her things and heads for Jimmy’s new fancy apartment so that they can run away and get hitched, but it is a stormy night, and they decide to ‘sleep on it’ together and get married in the morning. Come morning the blushing bride arises to find Jimmy long gone . . . . Leaving a note and a pile of money on the mantle for her. . . . In total disgrace and anger Pat returns to her modest apartment with the knowledge that she was nothing more than Jimmy’s play-girl for the night, and paid off like a prostitute. Then Sissy, another bit-part actress arrives and suddenly this romantic drama turns into a gangster flick again. Sissy is on her way to gangster Sleek Moran’s mansion for breakfast, and Pat decides that it is time for her to control men instead of the other way around. So we now have Pat, the sweet and innocent-till-last-night actress going to breakfast at the mansion of the gangster who has been exposed to the world by her newspaper reporter boyfriend, and the romantic stars in her eyes have been replaced by daggers of revenge . . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

William Beaudine, Marion Shilling and Beryl Mercer
William Beaudine, Marion Shilling and Beryl Mercer
The newspaper story
The newspaper story
Beryl Mercer and Bill Franey
Beryl Mercer and Bill Franey
Beryl Mercer and Rex Bell
Beryl Mercer and Rex Bell
Beryl Mercer
Beryl Mercer
Beryl Mercer
Beryl Mercer
Carmelita Garaghty and Thomas A. Curran
Carmelita Garaghty and Thomas A. Curran
Carmelita Geraghty and Rex Bell
Carmelita Geraghty and Rex Bell
Eddie Kane
Eddie Kane
Eddie Kane
Eddie Kane
Edna Murphy
Edna Murphy
Edward Earle and Marion Shilling
Edward Earle and Marion Shilling
Edward Earle and Marion Shilling
Edward Earle and Marion Shilling
Edward Earle
Edward Earle
Jack Carlyle
Jack Carlyle
Marion Shilling and Beryl Mercer
Marion Shilling and Beryl Mercer
Marion Shilling and Edna Murphy
Marion Shilling and Edna Murphy
Marion Shilling and Edward Earle
Marion Shilling and Edward Earle
Marion Shilling and Rex Bell
Marion Shilling and Rex Bell
Marion Shilling and Rex Bell
Marion Shilling and Rex Bell
Marion Shillng and Virginia Lee Corbin
Marion Shillng and Virginia Lee Corbin
Marion Shilling
Marion Shilling
Rex Bell
Rex Bell
Rex Bell and Marion Shilling
Rex Bell and Marion Shilling
Rex Bell, Marion Shilling and Beryl Mercer
Rex Bell, Marion Shilling and Beryl Mercer
Rex Bell and Marion Shilling
Rex Bell and Marion Shilling
Rex Bell
Rex Bell
Thomas A. Curran and Carmelita Geraghty
Thomas A. Curran and Carmelita Geraghty
William H. O'Brien
William H. O'Brien