27 November 2009 | Michael_Elliott
Stick with Haines Silents
Girl Said No, The (1930)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
I'm not sure how many people know this but William Haines made three films in 1930 and they were so popular that he was voted the most popular actor of the year. This was Haines first talkie after years in the silent era where he played obnoxious brats who would do anything to get his way. In this film, he plays an obnoxious brat who returns home from college and refuses to settle down in any way, shape or form. He reluctantly gets a job where he falls in love with the secretary (Lelia Hyams) but she wants nothing to do with him so he decides to bug her to death, kidnap her and torture her some more. Okay, we all know that THE JAZZ SINGER was released in 1927 and it pretty much had people wondering if silents would ever be needed again. I always point to 1928's THE WIND as proof that movies didn't need sound. This film here is my second bit of evidence in this theory because Haines is so downright obnoxious that you'll with the film was silent so you wouldn't have to hear him. Apparently MGM also released this in a silent version and I wouldn't mind seeing it because what we've got here is pretty bad on all levels. I'd almost recommend people to watch this just to see how bad it actually is. There are a couple good moments so I'll get them out of the way now. There's a pretty funny sequence where Haines pays a waiter to throw some onion soup on his rival (Francis X. Bushman, Jr.). Bushman, Jr. himself is pretty good here and there's also another decent sequence with Marie Dressler towards the end of the movie. Now, for the bad, which is pretty much everything else. For starters, Haines is so obnoxious that you won't be able to not hate him. Not only is the actor himself way too over the top but his character is such a mean jerk that you want to see him beaten to a pulp. That's not a good feeling to have for the lead actor. The scenes with him pretty much forcing himself on the girl and kidnapping her doesn't work because of how much we hate him. Hyams isn't any better as the female lead but the less said the better. The technical side of the film is also quite poor as there are several sequences with the actors moving where it becomes quite hard to understand what they're saying as they move further away from the mic. The opening sequence at the house is also pretty ugly to watch as several of the actors in the frame have their heads cut off. The biggest sin of this turkey is that there's just not enough laughs to carry a 91-minute movie. Perhaps had this been 60 or 65 minutes then it might have worked but not at this long time. It's worth noting that there's a joke where one character says he doesn't understand why people would be against birth control in regards to Haines. I'm not sure how many films this early mentioned birth control but the quote itself is something I have to agree with in regards to this character.