Mannequin

Mannequin (1937), is a film that piqued our interest when mentioned in the “Movie Palace Mysteries” series (previously reviewed on our site).  We were attracted to it because three of our favorite movie people from the classic films era were involved:  Frank Borzage (director) and, actors Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracy (in the days before he had teamed up with Katherine Hepburn). This is a sad drama/love story and while only 95 minutes long, you must withstand the first 15-20 minutes of tortuous scenes involving Crawford and Alan Curtis.  Desperate to leave behind a life of poverty, Jessie Cassidy (Crawford) manipulates her boyfriend, Eddie (Curtis) into marrying her thinking that he can provide the better life she seeks. As it turns out, Eddie is a rotten human being – he’s a con artist, has no money and he pushes Jessie to work as a model (aka mannequin) and showgirl to support them.  As would often happen in those days, showgirls end up at parties for rich and famous guys. At one such party, Jessie meets John Hennessy (Tracy) a wealthy shipping tycoon.  Hennessy is immediately attracted to Jessie and looks for ways to cross paths with her. Eddie learns of Hennessy’s attraction to Jessie and he proposes to her that she divorce him, engage in a relationship with Hennessy, get him to marry her, then divorce him so they had make a “big score” settlement so they’ll be set for life!  The movie’s drama centers around how all this will play out and if, in the end, Jessie with end up with Hennessy (and, not Eddie).  You must watch the film to find out!  Once past the early scenes, the movie is gripping because you end up rooting for both Jessie (not to make any more life choice mistakes) and Hennessy, whose business fortunes take a turn for worst.  Alan Curtis does “rotten” really well and you cannot help but hate him in his role as Eddie.  Crawford and Tracy turn in credible performances for what most critics would characterize as a B-list movie.  We give it a Good for An Afternoon rating.

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