23 September 2017 | richardchatten
The Whiny Brat
A stagy early talkie occasionally enlivened by Karl Freund's photography; based on Booth Tarkington's 1913 novel 'The Flirt', which had already been filmed in 1916 and 1922 (the latter by Hobart Henley, who also directed this version). Two young Broadway actresses made their big screen debuts in this version; by the end of the decade top-billed Sidney Fox in the title role was ironically completely forgotten and died of an overdose of sleeping pills aged 30, while Good Sister Bette Davis was one of Hollywood's top female stars. Also in it is someone called Humphrey Bogart playing a brilliantined spiv for whom Fox falls, and the lugubrious Slim Summerville, whose presence presumably accounts for the notorious quote attributed to Carl Laemmle - president of Universal - that Davis had "about as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville".
The two girls actually make reasonably convincing sisters, aided by heavy kohl eyeliner that makes them resemble vampires and those famous Bette Davis Eyes already stand out. The Bad Sister played by Miss Fox - surrounded by male admirers like flies round a honey pot while Good Sister Davis pines in the background - is a silly, annoying brat rather than "BAD!", and although Davis at the time desperately coveted the role of the other sister, and would soon be playing Bad Sisters aplenty, hers are easily the most interesting scenes in the film.