Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Connie Gets a Bed

Lorry Evans (Constance Bennett) has just been released from prison. She and her friend Minnie Brown (Pert Kelton) board a steamboat, in hopes of fleecing some of the men on board.  Only, Lorry is discovered, so she jumps overboard.  And is fished out of the water by Dan (Joel McCrea) the captain of a nearby barge. Having lost the money she scammed while on board the steamboat, Lorry takes Dan's money, and heads for New Orleans.  Thus begins Bed of Roses from 1933, the latest in our Constance Bennett series.  

This film is so obviously pre-code!  Lorry and Minnie are being released from prison for soliciting.  They are scam artists, and once Lorry gets to New Orleans, her goal is to sucker a rich man (John Halliday as Stephen Paige) into becoming her sugar daddy.   And yet, it will all end well for our "heroine".  Here is a clip from the opening scene:

 

Of course, we will discover that Lorry has a code, and will return to Dan because he is a good guy.  And she will fall in love with him.  And then her life will become even more complicated, as she has to decide between love and the knowledge of what her past life will do to their relationship.  Bennett is fantastic in the part.  She makes Lorry hard to dislike, yet you are always aware that she really is not quite on the up-and-up.  We also, of course, get some beautiful clothing once Lorry has gotten herself properly set up (no costumer is listed for the film, unfortunately).

The men are interesting characters as well.  Dan is a really good guy.  This is NOT the McCrea of Primrose Path (which we previously discussed).  This Dan takes people as they are; he doesn't make judgements.  Similarly, Stephen Paige actually seems to love Lorry.  Considering how she wormed her way into his life, this is rather surprising, however John Halliday, an excellent character actor who we've discussed before, makes it work.

Finally, there is Pert Kelton.  For those not familiar with her right away, this is Ma from The Music Man!  Minnie is hysterical, and Ms. Kelton plays her for all she is worth.  She reminds one a bit of Mae West.  And watch for the ending.  You will be quite amused.
Pert Kelton with John Halliday


Next time, another Constance Bennett pre-code