Why Be Good? (1929)

  |  Comedy, Drama, Romance


Why Be Good? (1929) Poster

A flapper with a dubious reputation enjoys a vivacious night of dancing and finds herself romantically linked to her boss.


7.2/10
281

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  • Colleen Moore and Bodil Rosing in Why Be Good? (1929)
  • Colleen Moore in Why Be Good? (1929)
  • Colleen Moore in Why Be Good? (1929)
  • Mischa Auer and Colleen Moore in Why Be Good? (1929)
  • "Why Be Good?" Colleen Moore, Neil Hamilton 1929 First National **I.V.
  • Neil Hamilton and Colleen Moore in Why Be Good? (1929)

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29 September 2015 | mukava991
Underneath the paint, you will find a saint.
"Why Be Good?" is a cultural treasure, not only because it's one of the few extant Colleen Moore features of the silent era, but because it has been crisply restored and boasts one of most voluptuous synchronized soundtracks of any late silent feature. As Leonard Maltin explained in his post-broadcast discussion on Turner Classic Movies which aired Sept. 28, 2015, the soundtrack musicians included such jazz greats as Joe Venuti and Tommy Dorsey. Vintage numbers including "I'm Thirsty for Kisses and Hungry for Love," "If You Want the Rainbow, You Must Have the Rain," "Tall, Dark and Handsome," "Flapperette," "Changes," "Le Chant des Boulevards" and "That's Her Now" as well as era-evocative nuggets by William Axt, Hugo Riesenfeld and others, accompany the jaunty proceedings. If Moore was was ever better I'd like to see evidence. She had the face, the hair and the attitude that have come to epitomize "flapper." In early talkies WBG's leading man, Neil Hamilton had a stodgy presence, but is more palatable in silence; if Moore was the ultimate flapper of her time, Hamilton was her equal in the young WASP romantic lead department. Louis Natheaux as a vainglorious would-be dance hall Casanova is the most entertaining supporting player in the early scenes, while Bodil Rosing and John Sainpolis serve the scenario effectively as Moore's parents.

The film showcases in a well-appointed and neatly packaged way the controversies about the role of women at the time. Objecting to her father's strictures about dress code and leisure activities, Moore argues that if she works to contribute to household upkeep, then she has a right to look like she wants (bobbed hair, lipstick, revealing dresses) and do what she wants (stay out half the night dancing, drink illegal alcohol, smoke cigarettes and ride around with men she's just met – in moderation, of course). These conflicts had been hashed out in countless films , including Moore's own "Flaming Youth" (1923) before this one was released. WBG then could well be characterized as the Last Word on flappers.

Though not a part of the soundtrack, the popular song of the time "She's a New Kind of Old Fashioned Girl" perfectly suits the Moore character ("Underneath the paint / You will find a saint…")

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