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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

'Our Blushing Brides' DVD: Joan Crawford Shows How to Engage a Millionaire

Our Blushing Brides
The relative early talkie "Our Blushing Brides" from 1930, which Warner Archive released on DVD several weeks ago, includes great elements of classics from that era. It combines Joan Crawford in a relatively dramatic lead role, a wonderful sense of a live- stage production, and a  morality play.

Archive artfully sums up the spirit of "Brides" by stating on the back cover of the release that it "joins earlier trendsetters "Our Dancing Daughters" and "Our Modern Maidens" to form the trilogy of Joan Crawford movies that define the passions and plights of jazz-baby youth."

"Brides" is also part of an Unreal TV Crawford trilogy. A review of  "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney" ran in April 2014, and a post on "The Bride Wore Red" is planned for late May 2014.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a scene from "Brides" makes it seem MUCH more like a Busby Berkeley musical than a Joan Crawford drama. However, the final minutes are truly charming.

This one has Crawford playing shop girl/amateur fashion model Jerry. Her colleagues/roommates Connie and Franky, respectively played by '20s darlings Anita Page and Dorothy Sebastian, require that Jerry also play the role of house mother.

All three working girls dream of finding a rich fella to enhance the lifestyle to which they have begrudgingly become accustomed. One specific goal is never having to set an alarm clock.

Reminiscent of the three little pigs of fairy tale fame, Connie and Franky pay the price for taking the easy route while Jerry benefits from building the brick house to which she greatly limits admission.

Connie literally and figuratively gets taken in by dreamy David, whose family owns the department store that employs our heroines. She soon learns the perils of being a kept woman, and David gets a harsh lesson regarding the consequences of imposing that peril.

For her part, Franky falls prey to the charms of a big-spender who truly is merely keeping up appearances. A scene in which she learns the truth is one of harshest in this and any other film.

The stalwart Jerry fares better in keeping her milk supply intact until the right dairy farmer both comes along and agrees to purchase her before pulling on her teats. Robert Montgomery plays the most likely candidate Tony, who is the somewhat older and infinitely more mature brother of David.

This is not to say that David does not do his best to open Jerry's barn doors. However, he remains a gentleman when he finds them firmly shut.

Suffice it to say, the virtuous path that Jerry follows pays off better than the seemingly well-trodden path that her friends select.

No modern review of this film is complete without referring to a scene that is hilarious by today's standards. In discussing one of the surprisingly common fashion shows of equally shockingly risque outfits for which Jerry and the girls are recruited, Tony gleefully announces that the gayest designer in Paris is visiting the store. Said individual being extremely flamboyant adds to the amusement of this.

The many morals related to this film are that the overall message that it offers is still relevant nearly 85 years later and that rejecting films from that era because they are in black-and-white and otherwise present wonderfully dated images deprives you of some of the best entertainment to come out of Hollywood.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Brides" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.