25 January 2006 | blanche-2
Barbara Stanwyck behind bars
Barbara Stanwyck is a front for bank robbers who winds up in San Quentin in "Ladies They Talk About," a pre-code drama. The film is badly dated with very melodramatic acting, the exceptions being Stanwyck and Lillian Roth. Not to mention, it's an absurd story. A popular reformer, "Brother David Slade" falls for Barbara the minute he sees her, believes her innocent, and wants to help her. He arranges for her release from jail, and then, brimming with confidence, she confesses that she was indeed part of the bank robbery. Shattered, he sends her up the river to San Quentin.
Once there, Stanwyck becomes a popular inmate with the exception of Sister Susie who's in love with Slade and hates her guts. Stanwyck helps her old buddies from the bank robbery escape by tunneling to her cell. The story goes on from there.
Lillian Roth is great as a young woman who befriends Stanwyck, and she gets to sing. Stanwyck is fabulous with her wavy hair and tough talk. Preston Foster mainly looks pious and sincere.
The film is interesting because of Stanwyck and Roth, but the story isn't good. Happily this was at the beginning of Stanwyck's career, and she went on to better things.