Friday, April 22, 2011

Joan Crawford in No More Ladies (1935)

Obscurity factor: 7

Joan Crawford went through various phases in her remarkably long career - the free spirited flapper, the, the no nonsense woman who got what she was after... This film is from her later MGM period - the young society woman phase. Joan plays Marcia, a glamorous, rich young woman who is in love with Sherry (Robert Montgomery), who's a bit of a heel. She's not happy with the situation and knows the odds are against her when she sets her mind to marry him. Her grandmother (Edna May Oliver) sees what's happening, but short of giving advice, must look on, helpless. Everyone tries to convince her to break it off, including Jim, the ex husband of a woman he had an affair with (Franchot Tone).  After they're married things seem to go well, until a fateful weekend when Sherry stands her up on the weekend they were supposed to spend together. Marcia is crestfallen, but rallies to make her point by inviting Jim and his ex wife and her new husband as well as the girl who he stepped out on her with to the country for a weekend party. As you can imagine, fur flies.

No More Ladies is a good example the myriad films about the ins and outs of society relationships in the 1930's. It's beautifully art directed with magnificent, if slightly understated art deco sets and beautiful costumes. I'm always somewhat bemused by Joan when she plays this sort of role. It's so different from the Joan we all think of today. Edna May Oliver is delightful as usual and beautifully turned out and Franchot Tone is just gorgeous. It's no wonder Joan married him. Though this isn't a masterpiece, it's still a delightful throwback to the era, and a nice evening's diversion.

This film was recently released on DVD, thanks to TCM. The trailer is above, uploaded to YouTube by skipjacktuner. The poster above is available from

Obscurity factor: 7 (Lost in the shuffle of similar films from the era, available on DVD)


  1. Watched Daisy Kenyon last night on TCM. Quite the talkfest and setbound to boot, but also interesting, with two unusual elements:
    - The near bromance between rivals Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda
    - The unresolved child-abuse subplot (and the fact that the wife isn't quite an innocent Rosemary DeCamp type or a Barbara O'Neil gorgon).
    On a strict plastic level, it is fascinating to see how a different team of technicians (at Fox instead of the usual Warner or MGM) failed to master the shape of the Crawford skull. She often looks odd, distorted, almost masculine. Yet her performance is strong...

  2. Yes, it's an interesting film, with Crawford playing a character better suited to Joan Fontaine or Greer Garson and Dana Andrews miscast as well, I think...