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Our Blushing Brides


Our Blushing Brides (1930)

     Perhaps such a low rating is not the best way to commence the critiques on this blog, but it happened to be the first I consumed after deciding to go ahead with  this endeavor. It also is appropriately reflective of my film focus as of late.

     I have been (for lack of a better word) obsessed with Robert Montgomery for the better part of a year now in an affair that started with Alfred Hitchcock’s only straight comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Joan Crawford, on the other hand, I’ve been pursuing just because of some unfounded fascination–I know she was an absolute terror in person, but she’s so gorgeous!
     Like many Crawford movies, however, and even more so than those of Montgomery, Our Blushing Brides was a pale effort at drama, romance and cashing in on the former’s “box office gold” status. The picture is the third in a series of Crawford movies, including Our Dancing Daughters (which really established her stardom) and Our Modern Maidens. Brides came just after Crawford married her first husband Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., who was a costar in Maidens and the partnership with whom launched Crawford to Hollywood high society.
     It chronicles three roommates who work in different areas of a major New York department store. Crawford is a model and Montgomery is the store owner’s oldest son who tries to catch her eye. In his efforts to do so, however, we are faced with an exceedingly uncomfortable scene when the man oggles the lingerie-clad model.
     Now this film came out in 1930 right on the cusp of the Motion Picture Production Code, or Hayes Code, instituted that same year, which set moral standards for what could and (primarily) could not be shown in a film. The code was very vague but I am confident in saying that a woman in brassiere and panties standing in front of a man with …uh… interest in his eyes would not have made it to theaters had it been filmed a year later. The discomfort is heightened for the viewer as Crawford’s expression illustrates her displeasure with flashing the goods before a potential suitor.
     Some sloppy acting moments toward the beginning of the film fade as the picture moves along – one friend marryies a wealthy man only to find he’s a crook, the other is willing to accept an apartment and gifts in lieu of marriage from a man who ultimately weds another.
     The inevitable happy ending between Crawford and Montgomery is severely loose in its foundation and leads to a quick cut to “the end” that has the viewer feeling jipped.
Sources: Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine

2 Responses

  1. Wow. I don’t know if this is the intended result, but I am bizarrely interested in seeing this movie now. (Mostly because you’ve described the awkward, creepy, disturbing lingerie scene so temptingly.) Sounds like a good movie for heckling.

    Very interesting, though!

  2. I too have had my interest peaked by your description of the lingerie scene. If I do view this film I promise to not make crazy, creepy goo goo eyes at Ms. Crawford as she stands there in her top shelf panteloons and brazir. But maybe not…

    Ah… the Hayes Code. Why can’t people that get behind these movements just go away! Big boys and girls should decide for themselves where they want to draw the line when it comes to film. Or any form of art for that matter.

    Joan Crawford was an interesting, complicated woman. I am mesmerized by Faye Dunaway’s performance of her in “Mommy Dearest”. I won’t call it a guilty pleasure because it is so outstanding!

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