Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cukor's "Girls About Town" (1931)

The Pacific Film Archive closed out its well-attended "Trouble in Paradise: Pre-Code Hollywood" series last Sunday with a fabulous example of the genre, George Cukor's cynically hilarious "Girls About Town." This early Cukor film about a pair of gold-digging beauties is in some ways a precursor to his later masterpiece, "The Women." As a big Kay Francis fan, I was anxious to see this comedy. Always the clotheshorse, Kay looks fabulous - but costar Lilyan Tashman steals the picture. Her acid-tongued lines are delivered with a twinkle in her eyes, while Kay's role is the more serious of the two. It's a shame that Tashman died so young - she showed great promise. Joel McCrea delivers in a role that requires little more than to act as eye candy. Cukor's direction is inventive (I especially enjoyed a champagne filled sequence early in the film) and stylish. It was a lot of fun to see Louise Beavers in a minor role.

If you didn't get the chance to see "Girls about Town," don't fret - it may be coming back to the Bay Area in the near future. In comments before the film, a PFA staffer noted that former Castro programmer Anita Monga is working on putting together a Paramount Before the Code series similar to the program at New York's Film Forum earlier this summer. I would bet this series is for the Balboa Theater. I'll keep investigating!

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