Lilly Turner (1933)

Passed   |    |  Drama

Lilly Turner (1933) Poster

A carnival magician deserts his wife when he finds out she's pregnant. She then marries the carnival's barker, but finds herself attracted to a young engineer.


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2 October 2019 | bkoganbing
| The men she attracts
Although this film is not usually what William Wellman as director gives us. He did a reasonably good job with Lilly Turner. Ruth Chatterton delivers the goods with the title role, a girl who keeps making wrong choices especially with the opposite sex.

The first choice was bad as she was married, pregnant and abandoned by two timing rat Gordon Westcott. More of a rat than she thought as he was already married to Margaret Seddon. Seddon by the way has one great scene with Chatterton.

The baby was stillborn and Westcott had been a carnival magician. Carnival barker Frank McHugh with a real nasty thirst problem feels sorry for Chatterton and marries her. She loves him in her own way, but hates his drinking. She also attracts the the attention Guy KIbbee the owner of the show.

Which is a medicine show and the others work for him. Attractions that are come ons for his medicines. Kibbee starts taking a liking to Chatterton, but his Marjorie Gateson keeps him on a short leash. She's got a roving eye also however. Another strong performance in a small role.

Chatterton also has strong man Robert Barrat sniffing around. He's not got much upstairs, but he does have a temper. When he gets out of line he hires ambulance driver George Brent, clean cut All American kid who studied engineering in college, but in The Depression can't get a job in his field.

Chatterton and Brent were married at the time and a lot of his early roles come in her films. This was a play produced and written by George Abbott on Broadway that only ran 24 performances in 1932. Theater was a luxury that many did without a lot of material was bought by Hollywood on the cheap that turned into decent films.

Decent film this is and the ending isn't quite what might have been led to believe would happen. Good cast, good direction and too bad for George Abbott he didn't write this in better times.

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