Monday, September 7, 2009

Stanwyck Sings too!

Perhaps we should call The Purchase Price Torch Singer II, since Barbara Stanwyck also plays a torch singer of spotty reputation and also does her own singing (though to far less beneficial effect than Ms. Colbert in Torch Singer. One understands why Ms. Stanwyck was later dubbed in Ball of Fire!  We have a trailer below, with her singing included.) Stanwyck's Joan Gordon wants to marry; however her lover Eddie Fields (Lyle Talbot) quickly informs us and reminds her that he is already married. She has a possibility - a young man of wealth named Don Leslie (Hardie Albright), who dumps her because his father has discovered her relationship with Fields. She leaves town - mainly to get away from Eddie. Then, she changes places with a hotel maid to travel to North Dakota as the mail order pride of Jim Gibson, played by George Brent.

We've liked George Brent in pretty much everything we've seen him in, but not this one. His Jim is a creep. His near-rape attempt of his stranger bride on their first night together we found revolting, and his assumption that molesting her immediately was his right as a "husband" doubled our dislike of Jim.  I can't speak for my fellow movie watchers here, but I know I found Eddie a lot more attractive (and wife or no wife, I would have gone off with him. He's a much nicer man, and cared more about Joan's well-being than Jim ever does).

The other creep in the movie was Bull McDowell (played by David Landau), who offers to advance Jim money IF Joan will act with a house maid (with benefits, of course). We also found the rather odd man who stands around barking rather disturbing (we couldn't figure out WHY he was barking!)

Stanwyck, who is good in everything, is wonderful in this, and the movie is worth seeing just for her. There is no question about Joan's character. We see her return a house key to Eddie, as she goes off to marry. But she attempts to be a good wife (in all but the physical sense) to Jim, as she tries to win him over. She is good to her neighbors, and smart and strong. We loved the scene where she goes off to assist a woman newly delivered of an infant; alone, and  still too weak to care for her newborn and young daughter, Joan steps in, cooks, cleans and gets the family back on an even keel. At that point, I dare anyone to NOT be in love with Joan.

 As promised, here is a trailer with Stanwyck singing:

Tune in next time for Frisco Jenny.

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