Monday, August 31, 2009

Other Men's Women

 After Bill (Grant Withers) succeeds in ducking his marriage to Marie (Joan Blondell), his pal Jack (Regis Toomey) offers to put him up. Jack's wife, Lily (Mary Astor) has no objections, but as time goes on, Bill and Lily start to have feelings for one another.

Other Men's Women is rather an odd movie. The consensus of our group was that it didn't quite know what it wanted to be: a romance for the women, or an action-adventure movie for the men. It did have both elements, with the love story between Grant Withers and Mary Astor playing out within the context of railroad men.  Mary Astor's character, Lily, disappears for most of the end of the movie, and one wonders why she would leave her now-blind husband even with the danger of a ensuing flood.

We did enjoy this early James Cagney appearance. His characterization of Eddie was a delight - from his first appearance atop a railroad car to the scene where he meets his girl friend at a fancy club in work clothes - then proceeds to strip down to the tux he had donned underneath.  Add to that a little dance step of joy, and you can't help but smile at the man who will launch to "overnight" success as Tom Powers in only two months. He was an amazing dancer; it's a shame he didn't get to do more of it, but it does make what we have even more to be appreciated.
The juxtaposition of the beginning and ending scenes, both set in the same cafe, really gave you a good look at the development of Grant Wither's Bill White.  A nice advantage of seeing these on DVD is the ability to go back and compare the two scenes. 

Here's a brief scene with Mary Astor and Grant Withers:

Next week, on to The Purchase Price.

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