Ann Harding had been a wonderful actress back in the early thirties. Her silvery blonde hair, beauty and husky "million dollar" voice meant that even when she played self sacrificing heroines, she was always believable. In the forties she began her stint as a character actress and her still regal beauty was effective even when cast as a teacher/chaperone in Columbia's sorority "who done it" - "Nine Girls".
Paula is the most hated girl in the Sorority - trying to steal Jane's boyfriend, blackmail, suddenly "lording" it over Mary, who has a black sheep brother who will ruin her chance to graduate (we aren't told how) etc you get the picture - so when Paula turns up dead, everyone has a motive, even Miss Thornton, the chaperone/teacher who is in love with Paula's father and Paula will stop at nothing to break up the pair. The "main girl" is Alice, who seems to have a few secrets. She is excellently played by Nina Foch. Paula has lent her $100 and to hush everything up, Alice agrees to write Paula's assignments, but when she refuses Paula threatens to spread stories about her lack of sanity - nice girl!!! Jane also has a dubious alibi, she was supposed to bring Paula back to the initiation lodge but when she arrives, without Paula, she literally has blood on her hands!!
When dopey cop (William Demarest) is put on guard, the movie, which had been a tight little mystery, took a comic turn. The spotlight was given to "Butch", Shirley, "Tennesse" and Eve (Lyn Merrick impersonated Katherine Hepburn at the drop of a hat). They all provided comic relief. The only actress who didn't get a chance to shine was Leslie Brooks - she could have provided a real sting to this murder tale but she was limited to just a few cutting remarks. The film turns dramatic for the last sequence and strangely, when Demarest is out of the picture. It is a good little rainy day picture and it will definitely keep you guessing "who done it"!!!
Presenting the Nine Girls - 1. Evelyn Keyes (Mary) will always be remembered by me for her role as the nervous housewife who reports "The Prowler" - policeman Van Heflin comes to investigate and sparks fly!!! 2. Jinx Falkenburg (Jane) was always best when playing herself ie "Cover Girl". She was, at one time, America's number 1 model. 3. Anita Louise (Paula) had been a child star and at this stage was winding down her career. Her blonde beauty was seen to advantage when she played Titania, Queen of the Fairies in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935). 4. Leslie Brooks (Roberta) was always on hand to add a little sour to the sweet ie as Rusty's "friend" in "Cover Girl". Her ultimate bad girl role was in "Blonde Ice". 5. Lynn Merrick (Eve) didn't really rise above Westerns. 6. Jeff Donnell (Butch) was a petite star who had a lengthy career - her most memorable movie was probably "Night Editor". 7. "Nine Girls" was one of Nina Foch's (Alice) first movies and she more than fulfilled her promise. She went on to become one of the Queens of film noir with her splendid performance in "My Name is Julia Ross". 8. Shirley Mills (Tennesse) debuted in the notorious exploitation film "Child Bride"(1938) she also appeared as one of the Joads in "The Grapes of Wrath" but apart from "Nine Girls" most of her appearances were uncredited. 9. Even though Marcia Mae Jones (Shirley) was only 19 when she appeared in this movie, she was already a veteran as she had been making movies all her life, from her first appearance in a Dolores Costello movie "Mannequin" (1926). She will always have a place in movie lovers hearts as the bullied Rosalie in "These Three" (1936).
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