29 August 2009 | Michael_Elliott
Mae Without the Monster and Grapefruit
Good Bad Girl, The (1931)
** (out of 4)
When people think of Mae Clarke and 1931 they'll probably think of three things. First would be James Cagney smashing a grapefruit in your face in THE PUBLIC ENEMY. Second would be the underrated masterpiece called WATERLOO BRIDGE. Third would be her getting chased by Boris Karloff in FRANKENSTEIN. Three masterpieces in one year is quite impressive so one can overlook this "other" film. Here she plays Marcia Cameron, a woman who finally catches a break and marries a good guy (James Hall) but her past is going to cost her everything. Her ex, a gangster (Robert Ellis), asks her to visit him in prison, which eventually leaks to the media and doesn't sit too well with the family of her new man. As the title says, this here is yet another tale of a bad girl with the heart of gold. Clarke is pretty good in the role but there are still quite a few problems with this film. The biggest one is Ellis who perhaps turns in the worst performance I've seen anyone give as a gangster. I've seen countless crime films in my life and I honestly can't think of anyone worst. Just check out the early scenes when he's threatening Clarke that she had better not be cheating on him. He's suppose to be menacing here but one can't help but laugh. Seeing him try to act rough and tough just had me wanting to break down laughing because of how forced it was. The supporting cast really isn't much better with Marie Prevost coming off quite annoying as Clarke's friend. The story is predictable from start to finish, although the sequence where Clarke's confronted by her new husband's parents was pretty good. It's also funny that one line goes: "My name is Bond...Trixie Bond."