Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ann Carver's Profession (1933)

As we look forward to another bevy of rare pre-codes at the Balboa, I wanted to add a belated note on "Ann Carver's Profession," a Fay Wray vehicle that played the Castro a couple weeks ago. This Columbia picture about a law school grad (Wray) who marries her college football star boyfriend (Gene Raymond). Ambitious Ann can't stay away from the law, however, and soon gets drafted into taking a high-profile case. When Ann's jaw-dropping courtroom stunt earns a victory in the courtroom, she becomes the toast of the town and a media sensation. Meanwhile, Ann's husband, reluctantly relinquishing breadwinner status to his wife, is forced to bear the shame of appearing as a second rate crooner in a local nightclub. Apparently, this is almost as embarrassing as it was for Mildred Pierce to be (GASP) ... a waitress! When he becomes mixed up in the death of his co-star on the nightclub marquis (a boozy and over-the-top Claire Dodd) , it's up to Ann to save the day by defending her estranged husband.

The film is typical of the genre in spotlighting a career girl rising to the top of a male-dominated profession. But it wants to play it both ways - Ann seems to be punished for her success in that her marriage crumbles as soon as she hits it big. The finale has Ann promising the jury she will give up her career should she succeed in clearing her husband's name. So much for girl power.

Raymond perfected playing the weak, ineffectual male throughout his early films (check out "Red Dust"). Wray is pleasant, if not particularly forceful, in the title role. Check out Wray in her most famous pre-code film, "King Kong," coming soon in an eagerly awaited Warner Home Video special edition DVD loaded with extras.

1 comment:

Lee T. said...

So what is this codswollop in "Complicated Women" about the pre-code era being a golden age of independant women on film and the post-code era being the opposite?I'll bet it had nothing to do with the code one way or another!