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  • THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI arrives in New York City knowing exactly what she wants: to amount to something solid by marrying a millionaire - without losing her virginity. With her knockout good looks she quickly catches the eye of the playboy son of a tycoon, but by staying true to her virtue will she also discover true love?

    Jean Harlow sizzles in this excellent little comedy. With her platinum hair & gorgeous accouterments, she is a dazzler. But her beauty should not obscure the fact that she was also a very good actress. She has rightfully earned her spot at the very top of the Hollywood pantheon.

    An excellent cast gives Harlow fine support: Lionel Barrymore as the wily old tycoon, wise to Harlow's ways; handsome Franchot Tone as his son, smitten with love; raucous Patsy Kelly, stealing her scenes as Harlow's sidekick; debonair Alan Mowbray, as a well-mannered English Lord; elderly Clara Blandick as Barrymore's feisty secretary; hearty Hale Hamilton as a rich man with an eye for the ladies; muscular Nat Pendleton as a lifeguard who catches Kelly's flirtatious eye; and Lewis Stone, unforgettable in a small role as a bankrupted businessman.

    It should be noted that this film was produced soon after Hollywood's Production Code was instituted. A comparison with RED-HEADED WOMAN, made two years earlier, would be fascinating - in which Harlow's character goes after the same ends, but uses very different means.
  • If the themes of The Girl From Missouri sound familiar it should. That's because Anita Loos who wrote the screenplay here also wrote the classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Unlike Marilyn Monroe in that film, Jean Harlow will accept any kind of jewelry from men of means.

    And it's men of means that Jean Harlow is after. She leaves the road side hash house run by her mother and stepfather because she's decided that the best way to gain the easy life is to marry it. Her talents as a chorus girl are limited, but she'll be able to trade in on that beauty.

    Her odyssey starts with her and friend Patsy Kelly getting an invitation to perform at a party thrown by millionaire Lewis Stone. But unbeknownst to Jean, Stone's just having a wild last fling before doing himself because of the moneys he owes not owns. Still she wrangles a few baubles from him that fellow millionaire Lionel Barrymore notices.

    Lionel's amused by it until Jean sets her sights on his playboy son, Franchot Tone. After that he is not amused and he looks to shake Jean from climbing the family tree.

    The Girl From Missouri went into production mid adaption of The Code so it went under peculiar censorship. I've a feeling we would have seen a much more risqué film. Still Jean Harlow as a younger and sassier version of Mae West is always appreciated. What a great comic talent that woman had, seeing The Girl From Missouri is a sad reminder of the great loss the world of film sustained with her passing three years later.

    Ironically enough the casting of Patsy Kelly with Harlow was no doubt influenced by the successful shorts Kelly was making with another famous platinum blonde, Thelma Todd. Harlow and Kelly have the same easy chemistry between that Patsy had with Thelma. Todd would also die a year later in a freak accident/suicide/homicide that no satisfactory explanation has ever really been given.

    Don't miss The Girl From Missouri, it's bright and sassy, must be from all that sparkling jewelry.
  • In this film, made JUST as the production code was being enforced, Jean Harlow is Eadie, and Patsy Kelly is the wisecracking, man-chasing sidekick "Kitty". Girl from Missouri starts out with the girls getting on a train, with Eadie making a promise to herself to earn money while looking for a millionaire husband, staying whole-some in the process. It doesn't take her long to meet up with Frank Cousins, (Lewis Stone, was the kindly Doctor in Grand Hotel, as well as Judge Hardy in the "Andy Hardy" films.), but all is not as it seems...The censors must have LOVED Harlow's line "A girl couldn't accept an expensive gift like that from a gentleman unless she was engaged." Later, someone says "You know we've never been alone together" and Eadie replies "Yeah, and we're not going to be!" Lionel Barrymore is T.R. Paige, another rich, uppercrust who comes to her rescue when trouble comes looking for Eadie. At one point, Paige declares "You oughta scratch me off your list - I'm not a ladies man".... I wonder what that line would have been just a couple years earlier before the Hayes code came rolling into town. What was he really saying? Carol Tevis seems to be the high-pitched "Baby Talker" as listed in the credits on IMDb. Looks like she was only in showbiz from 1931 - 1939, with "Munchkin" in Wizard of Oz being the last part she played. Fun, cleancut romp as the girls chase men around the country. Look for Nat Pendleton as the lifeguard, who was an Olympic Wrestler 1920 (silver medal winner) turned film star (he was in many of the Dr. Kildares, and would appear in four of Harlow's films.) Mistaken identity, plot twists, a young Franchot Tone, love stories, even Jean Harlow in a bathing suit in "Palm Beach", although the outdoor scenes of downtown appear to be a backdrop.
  • Jean Harlow is "The Girl from Missouri" in this 1934 film that ran afoul of the production code and had to be cleaned up. Gone is the tough, sexy gal who's been around the block too many times to count. Now she's cheap-looking but wants the ring on her finger before anything else.

    Jean Harlow is Eadie, and she's a delight in this film, which also stars Franchot Tone as the object of her affections, Lionel Barrymore as his father, and Patsy Kelly as her good friend. Eadie sets her sights on an old man, Cousins (Lewis Stone) at a party he throws; he's broke and has just asked T.R. Paige (Barrymore) for a loan. He doesn't get it. Eadie enters, and Cousins gives her his ruby cuff links, which she won't take because they're not engaged. Cousins, knowing he's about to blow his brains out, agrees to marry her, so she takes the cuff links. Before she knows it, he's dead, and she's slipped the cuff links to Paige so she won't be accused of stealing them.

    Eadie then sets her sights on Paige and follows him to Palm Beach, where she meets a young man (Franchot Tone) who turns out to be T.R. Paige Jr. She's wildly attracted to him, but he's a playboy. Will he fall for her? Can it work? Good movie. Tone is smooth and elegant. I've never cared for Patsy Kelly; she always seems to be shouting, and she's very stagy. Barrymore is good as always.

    So the pure Jean, still with the platinum blonde hair, makes her debut in this film governed by the Hays Code. A shame her career wasn't longer. She had a wonderful screen presence.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    THE GIRL from MISSOURI unleashes Jean Harlow's comedic skills, not to outdo her natural attributes. When Harlow is in a scene, it is hers. She plays Eadie, a small town girl headed to the big city with her best friend Kitty(Patsy Kelly). She becomes a chorus girl with the intention of landing a man...not just any man, a millionaire. On one hand it seems she will do anything to get what she wants; on the other hand she doesn't want to stray far from her values. Thinking she has landed the wealthy T.R. Paige(Lionel Barrymore), who really doesn't want to take her seriously. T.R. Paige Jr.(Franchot Tone)is the one smitten by the blonde bombshell. Daddy Paige will do what he can to discourage his son from stooping down for the love of a flashy chorus girl. Fast moving comedy and yes, Miss Harlow really can be funny almost effortlessly. And no doubt she looks good coming as she does going. Also in the cast: Lewis Stone, Henry Kolker, Alan Mowbray and Clara Blandick,
  • "I know my singing and dancing won't get me anywhere," Jean Harlow tells friend Patsy Kelly. "I'm gonna get married." Harlow is The Girl from Missouri, and in the picture's opening moments she and Patsy flee their depressing small town gin joint surroundings and head to the City, where they take jobs as chorus girls and set about finding men. Harlow is determined to find a rich husband; Patsy is just as interested in meeting doormen and lifeguards.

    Lionel Barrymore is excellent as T.R. Paige, a millionaire who has worked his way up from nothing himself and sees Harlow as a "platinum chiseler" after his son; Franchot Tone is also good as Tom Paige, the son of that wealth whose eager pursuit of Harlow inspires her distrust and his father's dismay. Will he propose to her? Will she accept him? Will Lionel accept her as a daughter-in-law? --All is complicated by Lionel's political ambitions and by a ring Harlow has fashioned from a pair of cufflinks.

    Patsy Kelly plays it (mostly) straight as Harlow's friend and companion, and gives a solid performance. Lewis Stone has one poignant scene early on as a ruined businessman. The funniest scene belongs to Nat Pendleton as a beefy lifeguard who, when called, pops up from behind a boat on the sand….

    Overall, though, it's Jean Harlow's show all the way—and she is charming, strong yet vulnerable, ultimately as tough and clever as Barrymore's political schemer and a match for Tone and his charming grin. No classic, but good fun.
  • During the early 1930s, pretty much anything went when it came to films--nudity, cursing, adultery and graphic violence. However, these sort of films did not set well with many Americans or special interest groups, such as the Catholic Legion of Decency and attendance began to drop--leading the leaders of the various studios to scramble to bring back viewers. Ultimately, this led to the creation of the new Productiton Code of 1934. Gone were all the excesses of the past years and in its place was a very sanitized world--where husbands and wives didn't even sleep in the same bed! This was a problem for some actresses. Jean Harlow, Kay Francis and Ann Harding (among others) specialized in sexy movies where women who were tramps--and REALLY enjoyed it. Now, with the Code, plots were drastically changed and some of these actresses faded (after all, who today remembers Ann Harding?) while others adapted to new roles. In the case of the previously steamy Harlow, this meant her playing a girl who LOOKED cheap but who was pure deep. Even this image caused problems with the censors and a Harlow film was usually given extra scrutiny by the board because of her reputation in films.

    Because of this background, making "The Girl From Missouri" was tough and it required many rewrites and cuts. And, as a result, it resulted in a very strange sort of morality. In this film, Harlow looks and sometimes acts cheap--but she ain't. Down deep she has VERY strong morals. She will NOT sleep with a man before marriage BUT in a nod to the old Harlow, she still insists that she must marry a rich man--love him or not! So, she's a gold-digger with a heart of gold! As a result of these changes, the films were still fun--but if you thought about the plots, they really made no sense at all.

    "The Girl From Missouri" is well worth seeing though it's not as vulgarly wonderful as her earlier films (like "Red Dust", "Red-Headed Woman" and "Dinner at Eight"). It does have some lovely supporting actors--in particular Lionel Barrymore and Patsy Kelly. And, the film is quite fun from start to finish.

    By the way, I mentioned Kelly in this film because I usually hated her films. However, here she was less brash and loud--and was a positive element in the movie. Here, she really proves she could act and behaves like a hilarious man-crazy dame (but without all the yelling). In reality she was apparently a lesbian and I assume that due to the rigidity of the new Code the studio deliberately gave the normally sexually ambiguous Kelly a VERY heterosexual role--as it was VERY atypical of her earlier roles. So, thanks to the Code, some folks went even deeper into the closet--as gay characters were pretty common up until 1934.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    No matter how you slice it, she comes up Lorelei Lee. The names may be different, but Jean Harlow and Patsy Kelly are identical to the blonde and brunette heroines of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". Instead of heading out to sea from the Big Apple, they pack their bags and head out of the mid-west hoping to take Manhattan (and its millionaires) by storm. Who better to play Anita Loos's lovable gold-digger than Jean Harlow? Unlike Marilyn Monroe's movie version of Lorelei, Harlow is closer to the stage incarnation of that character, here a tough girl who doesn't want to end up like her tired but still fairly young mother. She has morals, but like Lorelei believes it is better to fall in love with a rich man rather than a poor one, and ultimately gets more than her original intentions.

    The mannish Patsy Kelly is so delightfully funny (as well as touching) as Lorelei's pal, who like "Gentlemen Prefer Blonde's" Dorothy (Jane Russell on screen) isn't necessarily looking for gold, just love, sweet love. She flirts with every handsome blue collar worker she lays her eyes on, but is at Harlow's beck and call as every best pal should be, even if it interferes with her carnal activities. Her best line of wanting to be a nice home girl just like Mae West is a gem.

    Made just on the cusp of the unfortunate Hays code, there's still plenty of innuendo concerning sex, prostitution, infidelity and cocaine to go around. The basic story concerns Harlow's involvement in the missing cufflinks of the suicidal Lewis Stone and the scandal that breaks after she sets her eye on the wealthy Lionel Barrymore and later his son (Franchot Tone) whom she initially believes to be poor. "Auntie Em" Clara Blandick has some amusing moments as Barrymore's secretary (her quiet stares at the intrusive Harlow are hysterically funny, as is her light flirtation with Tone), while Nat Pendleton is raucous as one of Kelly's "conquests". Not as blatant as previous Harlow outings (particularly her gold-digging "Red Headed Woman"), it is still plenty juicy.
  • tnrcooper9 February 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Because the Hays Code was implemented during the production of this film, it has a bit of a contradictory plot - Harlow wants to have fun but she also insists that she has the highest morals. She and her friend Kitty (Patsy Kelly) have bolted Missouri for the East Coast where Eadie (Harlow) wants to hook a rich benefactor. She sets her eyes on the rich elder host of a party, Cousins (Lewis Stone) and he agrees to marry her. However, unbeknownst to Eadie, he has just been turned down for a large loan and will imminently kill himself. She then turns her attentions to TR Paige (Lionel Barrymore), a banking magnate, who isn't interested in her and can see through her games. His son TR Paige Jr. (Franchot Tone), is besotted with her and his dad thinks that if he gets burned by the money-grubber, he might learn something. Eadie shows herself to have a heart of gold and so the film doesn't turn out as the banking magnate might have foreseen it.

    Some great acting by Tone and Harlow steals every scene she is in. Barrymore is fantastic and effortless in his role. Kelly is very good as Eadie's frisky friend. An enjoyable way to spend 75 minutes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In this film, Jean Harlow comes from a low class childhood, when the death of her father led her mother to remarry and, under the stepfather's influence, her mother becomes a "hostess" and Jean is encouraged in entertain as well. But, when she has enough, Jean sneaks off to meet the world head on and tries to find herself love and a soft place to fall. By means of a job and connections, she meets Lewis Stone, but he has his own problems. Then she tries to latch on to Lionel Barrymore, but there's more to him than meets the eye, as he acts kind to her, but realizes, or so he thinks, that she is only mercenary. Enter his son Franchot Tone, as he sets his sights on Jean, but Lionel has his own agenda. Such sets up the story in this enjoyable Jean Harlow film. Her career began with characters that were purely out for money and rich men, but, with the movie studio trying to make sure their films could pass the Hays Production Code, they made her characters more with a heart of gold, instead of heartless. This film certainly entertains and at the same time is emotionally charged, as we see Jean trying to be a good girl despite her yen for Franchot. If you've never seen Jean Harlow, this is certainly one of her best, even though it's not as well known as other films of hers. Though "The Girl from Missouri" was made in 1934, the story and its lead actress are still fresh today. With good support and snappy dialogue from Patsy Kelly, this is must-see Jean Harlow material.
  • This has long been a favorite of mine. I like movies when an underdog has to fight tooth and nail to get respectability.

    Harlow was that unique mix of sassy and classy that charmed a generation. Here she charmed the pants off of me and all the men on the screen except one. And let's not get into the tired argument of the Hays Code, it's beginning to bore me.

    Hollywood did have to tone down. But you know what? Harlow did not lose an ounce of her luster and showed us that she could shine as a go-getter from the skids who wanted to make good, enough though she came off as sassy.

    I recommend this movie, to all Harlow fans, but also to those who can sympathize with those struggles that downtrodden people often have to suffer through. The dialogue is swift, clean, brassy and clever. But it's HARLOW that makes every moment on screen sparkle.

    She's a heroine of mine...and that's because I kind of like a girl with that much spunk. Bless you, wherever you are, Jean! You are beloved still! :)
  • Pretty weak showcase for the star who manages to shine brightly despite the ordinariness of the script. The story is cliché and has been told with more imagination elsewhere.

    It helps that she is pitted against a top rank actor like Lionel Barrymore as her protagonist. Their flinty interchanges are some of the best scenes in this lackluster affair. The other standout in the cast is Patsy Kelly who makes a peach of a sidekick for the brassy Jean. Her easy virtue is used to counterpoint the heroine's chastity in a way that could get around the censors of the day.

    The actor who is out of place, although he fulfills his role adequately, is Franchot Tone. A fine actor in the right pictures, dramas such as Five Graves to Cairo and the like, Metro for some reason used him mostly as a colorless effete mannequin for their leading ladies. Jean and he are oil and water, she was always more comfortable with an earthy man like Gable or Spencer Tracy.

    One last thing, what a lousy title for any movie but for a Jean Harlow movie, ridiculous. For some reason the powers that be had a hard time coming up with an appropriate title. Shot under the title Eadie Was a Lady, then changed to 100% Pure then Born to Be Kissed and released in some areas under that title, while none of them is great any would have made more sense than the lemon they ended settling on.
  • Jean Harlow was always a sheer delight in her films, so full of life, charming and beautiful with some of the most sparkling comic timing of anybody at that time in film. Such a shame that she died so young with so much more to give and didn't do more films, regardless the film she was always one of the best assets. 'The Girl from Missouri' had a good cast besides Harlow, including Lionel Barrymore, who may not have been what one calls a subtle actor but was always riveting to watch.

    Don't let the title of the film put one off. From the title, one expects 'The Girl from Missouri' to be pretty generic, very cute if not much more and basically with not much to it. It is a much better film actually than the title indicates, a much more spirited, wittier and more charming film than one would think and doesn't get too cute. Not perfect, but the cast are on form, it's well directed and the writing sparkles at its best.

    Harlow is perfection here in 'The Girl from Missouri'. Truly enchanting and her comic timing dazzles. The other standouts are Barrymore, both hilarious and crusty, and Patsy Kelly, occasionally going a bit overboard but clearly having a great time. The whole cast are good and what makes the film work, as well as their chemistry which never labours. Franchot Tone has been better, but he does his best in bringing colour and wit to his fairly one-dimensional character. Alan Mowbray brings distinguished support as does a poignant Lewis Stone.

    'The Girl from Missouri' benefits from a sharp and witty script, a spirited pace, a genuine charm and Jack Conway directs with skill and energy throughout. The story is silly as heck but is never dull.

    Some of the situations are a little on the forced and convenient side.

    Part of me wished that there was more nuance to Tone's character, because he can be one of those where one is not sure what people see in him.

    Overall though, a lot of fun and fans of Harlow should love it. 8/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This MGM comedy-romance drama has a wonderful cast with three big name leads of the day. Jean Harlow is Eadie, Lionel Barrymore is T.R. Paige and Franchot Tone is T.R. Paige Jr. The drama aspect is in a small-town girl leaving home to get away from an overbearing stepfather and escape a seedy lifestyle. The drama also comes in as Eadie tries to work her way into the circle of wealthy men. And in a short scene that ends with a broken businessman committing suicide. Eadie wants to find a rich man to marry, and not become a harlot in the process.

    It's that very drive to remain a good girl that makes for some of the comedy with T.R. Paige (Lionel Barrymore), who spots her as a gold-digger from the first. But it's also the allure that wins over T.R. Paige Jr. (Franchot Tone). The difference between a gold-digger and Edie, as Tom Paige Junior discovers, is that Edie doesn't want money and a good time. She wants marriage with the money – and a settled lifestyle. And for love to come with it – well, that's perfect.

    "The Girl from Missouri," isn't a riotous or witty comedy. But it is a nice story with some very clever schemes and funny situations. I think Harlow is the funniest when she puts on airs and acts a snob – the exact type of person she dislikes. I suppose the writers and directors know that, and it's why she gets films such as this where she gets to play both roles.

    Lionel Barrymore is very good, as always. Franchot Tone is superb as the young banker-heir to his father's fortune. He's also a playboy, but well-liked by friends and acquaintances. Tom is smitten by Edie the moment he sees her, and he persistently pursues her. At first, she doesn't know who he is, and before she learns that he too is rich and heir to a fortune, they hit it off and she begins to fall for the guy. Of course, dad must try to dissuade the son and he tries everything to get him to see that she is a gold-digger.

    How it works out after their first encounters is all part of the fun of this entertaining film. It's not filled with laughs or witty dialog. But it is a fine comedy-romance with some drama thrown in for a good story. One character began to grate on me after a while. Patsy Kelly plays Kitty Lennihan, Eadie's best friend and companion – her chaperon, as Eadie calls her. But much of the time Eadie has to be chaperoning her. It might be funny once or twice, but after a few situations it becomes irksome.

    This film also has a number of top supporting actors of the day. Lewis Stone, Alan Mowbray, Hale Hamilton and others do well in their roles. This is a movie that most movie buffs should enjoy.

    This film came out in 1934, right when the motion picture industry began enforcing its "Hays Code" through the "Breen" office. So, I thought the opening script was interesting. It read, "This picture approved by the Production Code Administration of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America." It had "Certificate Number 91."
  • Girl from Missouri, The (1933)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Jean Harlow plays a Southern girl who goes to the big city to land a millionaire and she thinks she finds on in a lawyer (Lionel Barrymore) but soon his son (Franchot Tone) starts coming onto her. The film has a pretty weak screenplay and there's really nothing too original going on. Even Harlow seems a tad bit bored as she doesn't contain any of that spark or energy that made her a legend. We do get several shots of her body, which are nice but it's not enough to save the film. Tone makes for a good leading man but it's Barrymore who steals the show with his maniac like performance. What laughs the film does get are due to Barrymore but Lewis Stone also comes off well in his small role. Oh yeah, one of Harlow's sexual scenes includes her being thrown into a shower with her clothes on and then walking out with her nipples showing through her dress.
  • I'm a Jean Harlow fan, because she had star quality. I don't think her movies are good and I don't even think that she was a good actress, but she certainly was Great in comedies. Every bit of comedy in The Girl from Missouri is very good. But this movie is perhaps more like a love story. Jean Harlow is wonderful in this one and you can forget the rest of the cast - their performances bring nothing new. It always impresses me much to think that Harlow's beautiful body was that of an ill woman. Well, in this movie she does look beautiful.
  • Jean Harlow's finest hour is The Girl from Missouri. If you've never seen a movie starring the original blonde bombshell, this is a good place to start. You probably know that she was Marilyn Monroe's idol, and it's not hard to see why when you watch this hilarious 1934 comedy predating Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and written by the same woman, Anita Loos. In this story, two small town girls run away to the big city and try to make it in show business; the brunette has common sense and falls for any guy who whistles, and the blonde wants to marry a millionaire. Sound familiar? Well this movie came first, so if you liked the remake, you've got to rent it.

    When Jean and her friend Patsy Kelly get to the big city and take jobs as chorus girls, Jean tries to hook the first millionaire she gets her hands on: Lewis Stone. She's not as charming as she thinks-well, she is, but Lew only pretends to fall for her so quickly-and moments after they become engaged, Lew kills himself! Jean and Patsy are found in the room, but another millionaire, Lionel Barrymore, saves them from scandal by providing a false alibi.

    This was the first Lewis Stone movie I ever saw, and I was surprised by his lack of screen time, given his high billing. I had no idea he was a beloved silent star who continued his career for another two decades and made himself a household name with the Andy Hardy movies. I always thought he was "that tired guy who kills himself". When the next few movies I saw him in he also had low energy and seemed extremely tired, I thought he was always that way; but it turns out he has lots of energy if you see him in the right movies.

    Lionel Barrymore is absolutely hilarious in this movie. He may tell Jean, "I'm not a ladies man," but it's completely understandable that she wants to marry him, even after she meets the handsome, charming Franchot Tone. Lionel is such a cutie! He's smart and shrewd, but all his money doesn't make him feel like he's really earned a place at the top. The part of him that started off poor and ambitious understands that side of Jean; you can tell that even though he doesn't respect her, he still likes her. "What do you take me for?" Jean asks haughtily after Lionel insults her at a party. "What do you think?" he quips back.

    Franchot is an interesting romantic rival, playing a spoiled playboy who doesn't believe Jean's as innocent as she claims. He's pretty self-centered for most of the movie, so don't feel bad if you're on Team Lionel. After all, how are you really supposed to root for Franchot when he's on the phone with another girl, lying to her about why he hasn't called, and then tells his secretary, "Stall her, tell her you're the operator, cut her off! I don't care," and leaves the room to hit on Jean Harlow? He's the perfect foil for Jean's character. Where she's innocent, he's experienced; when she feels, he's plotting. Her main goal is marriage, and his main goal is an affair. When you watch this movie, you've got to keep in mind that it was released just after the passing of the Hays Production Code. Being a "good girl" is extremely important in this movie, so put on your 1930s goggles and try to understand how important it is for Jean to get a husband, rather than a boyfriend.

    Speaking of the Hays Code, when you know that this film was under heavy scrutiny and censorship, it's amazing some of the jokes made it through. Taking home the Rag Award for Best Screenplay, this movie is sweet, clever, fast-paced, romantic, and inventive. Patsy Kelley is side-splittingly funny as Jean's sidekick. Every one-liner out of her mouth is hilarious and shocking, from "Did someone ask you to sniff a little white powder?" to unbuttoning the bellboy's uniform and reasoning, "Well, when you can't afford to tip them. . ." Patsy is so funny, it's amazing she didn't completely steal the show. But when you're up against Jean Harlow, I guess that's impossible.

    Finally, we come to Jean Harlow, the belle of the ball. If you know anything about Jean's personal life, you know that she wasn't really a painted harlot when the cameras stopped rolling. She was remarkably down to earth and playful, and her sweetness was missed by all who knew her. When you watch The Girl from Missouri, it doesn't feel as if you're watching her real life, but it is nice to see her in an innocent light. She may scheme to get Lionel, but all she's really after is a wedding ring. She doesn't do anything devious or at the expense of anyone else, so when Lionel accuses her of being a "blonde chiseler", your heart bleeds for her. She's a good girl, in more ways than one, and all she wants is someone to love her and take care of her. In her famous monologue, she bares her soul to Franchot and admits that she may look cheap but she has feelings just like anybody else. I know that in today's lifestyle, no one can identify with Jean's character from 1934-which in itself is rather sad-but she's still touching, compelling, and endearing. There's never been a bombshell with a brighter, purer light inside her.
  • lugonian20 November 2016
    THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1934), directed by Jack Conway, stars Jean Harlow, the girl actually from Missouri playing the fictional girl named Eadie  from Missouri. In typical Depression era style story about gold diggers out to find rich husbands, THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI is no different from the others, but how it's played makes a difference from one movie to the next. While such gold digging types as Joan Blondell, Carole Lombard or many others might have handled similar assignment roles such as this, Jean Harlow does quite well in a light comedy with dramatic overtones.

    As the credits roll to the same underscoring that opened Harlow's earlier comedy success of BOMBSHELL (1933), the narrative opens at Mrs. Chapman's Hot Spot, the Best Beer in Missouri, where Edith "Eadie" Chapman (Jean Harlow) manages  to sneak away from her unhappy existence of her loose-morals mother (Esther Howard) and unsympathetic stepfather (William "Stage Boyd), by packing up and going away with Kitty Lennihan (Patsy Kelly), her closest friend, on the first train leaving town for New York City. Later, Eadie and Kitty acquire jobs as chorus girls, but that's not enough. Eadie's ambition is to better herself,  become somebody and marry a millionaire. Along with the group of chorus girls hired to entertain in the home of Frank Cousins (Lewis Stone) and his guests, Eadie makes a play for the elderly gentleman, unaware that he's broke and in desperate need of  money himself. Unable to acquire financial help from millionaire businessman, Thomas Randolph Paige (Lionel Barrymore), Cousins kills himself. Before he dies, however, Cousins has earlier agreed to both an engagement to a girl he hardly knows as well as giving her his expensive gold cuff links as a gift. In fear of being arrested for having the cuff links found on her, she has Mr. Paige, whom she earlier mistook for a butler, to hide it for her from the police. Most appreciative of helping her out of a jam and offering her money, Eadie goes after Paige, president of T.R. Paige and Company, but her presence becomes too much for the elderly gentleman. Going to Palm Beach on a business trip, Eadie, who takes Kitty as her chaperon, follow suit. While waiting outside his office, Eadie is spotted by Paige's son, playboy Tommy Paige (Franchot Tone), who becomes her aggressor. When Mr. Paige discovers his son's love for this blonde chiseler and intends on marrying her, he does everything possible to break their engagement.

    Other members of the cast featured are Alan Mowbray (Lord Douglas); Hale Hamilton (Charles W. Turner); Henry Kolker (Senator Ticombe); Clara Blandick (Miss Newberry, Paige's Personal Secretary); and in smaller roles, Charles C. Wilson, Fuzzy Knight and Shirley Ross. Look quickly for Nat Pendleton as the lifeguard whom becomes Patsy Kelly's latest male prospect

    Surrounded by such veteran MGM contract players as Lionel Barrymore and Lewis Stone, along with the studio's up and coming Franchot Tone, in his second of four movies opposite Harlow,  Patsy Kelly, as the second banana, gathers the most attention described as "the old-fashioned home girl like Mae West." Her wonderful presence and wisecracks are most welcome here. When she's not around in some long stretches, Harlow is on her own, ranging from finding herself a sort of Mae West situation making her presence known while on an all male yacht, to getting revenge on old man Paige for breaking up her engagement to his son. Franchot Tone, in one of his many millionaire playboy types, has his moments of keeping himself from "going cuckoo" from Eadie's charms before letting go and telling her how he really feels while both getting wet under a shower

    Following the box-office successes of RED DUST (1932), BOMBSHELL (1933) and DINNER AT EIGHT (1933), THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI (1934), although quite entertaining in its own way, is one of the most overlooked Harlow MGM movies in recent years. Interestingly her only 1934 release, she was to follow this with other developed classics, especially her finest, LIBELED LADY (1936), before her untimely death in June of 1937. Looking very much like a pre-code production, there's indication of how many scenes were changed and altered before the film would win the fade-in title card approval rating from the production code. One wonders how this 73 minute production might have turned out had it been released in theaters before the production code was strictly enforced.

    In present toned-down form, it's still enjoyable gold digger themed material after millionaire fluff story. Formerly available on home video in the 1990s, the decade when this long unseen comedy made it to some public television stations, THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI can be seen and studied either watching on DVD or whenever broadcast of Turner Classic Movies cable channel.(***)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have never really got the point of "gold-digger" movies. Such films do not, as one might think, deal with the adventures of prospectors in the California Gold Rush of 1849 or the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s. At one time "gold-digger" was a slang term for a young woman hoping to ensnare a wealthy man.

    Neither have I ever really got the point of Jean Harlow. I know that she is frequently cited as the first great sex symbol of the sound era, but I have never thought her particularly beautiful, certainly not when compared to slightly older contemporaries such as Louise Brooks or Katharine Hepburn, or slightly younger ones such as Ingrid Bergman or Rita Hayworth. Her main attributes seemed to be her masses of peroxided hair and her brazenly sexy screen persona, although her brazenness had to be toned down a bit after the Production Code came into force in 1934.

    Well, "The Girl from Missouri" is a gold-digger movie starring Jean Harlow, so it has two strikes against it from the start. Edith "Eadie" Chapman is a young dancer who leaves her home state and moves to New York. You might think from the title that her home state is Missouri, but later in the film there is a reference to her being from Kansas. The scriptwriter Anita Loos presumably could not be bothered to read the title of the film for which she was writing the script. Or possibly she was bunking off school on the day when the geography teacher was covering the Midwestern states.

    Eadie is drawn to the Big Apple partly because it offers more opportunities for professional dancers, but more importantly because it offers more opportunities for professional gold-diggers. She thinks that she has hit paydirt when she receives a marriage proposal from millionaire Frank Cousins within a few minutes of meeting him. Unfortunately, Frank turns out to be a millionaire on the debit rather than the credit side of the ledger, owing rather than owning millions, and a few minutes later, faced with financial ruin, he shoots himself, but not before he has given Eadie some expensive gifts (which will play an important part in later plot developments). This episode strikes a very sour note; the film is (or at least aims to be) a light-hearted romantic comedy, so a scene in which a man commits suicide out of despair seems horribly out of place. Eadie, however, sheds no tears for Frank, treating his death as no more than a temporary setback to her gold-digging ambitions.

    Eadie has more luck with Thomas Randall Paige junior. Tom junior is young and handsome, and his family's extensive assets are undoubtedly all on the right side of the balance sheet. The problem here is that Thomas Randall Paige senior does not welcome the prospect of a chorus girl as his daughter-in-law; the plot tells of how he is eventually persuaded to relent. To keep the Hays Office happy, Loos's script emphasises that Eadie refuses to have sex until she has got that wedding ring safely on her finger. (This was one of the first post-Code movies, Certificate No. 91). In this, however, she reminded me of Samuel Richardson's heroine Pamela, using her virginity as a bargaining chip to secure an advantageous marriage rather than staying chaste out of moral principle.

    Films about gold-diggers were a popular comedy sub-genre in the 1930s- very popular, despite (or possibly because of) the fact that their heroines were generally portrayed as hard-bitten and materialistic. Harlow's Eadie is no exception to this general rule, coming across as a selfish little minx with no thought in her head for anyone other than herself or for anything other than her own financial prospects and how she might improve them. In the Depression era such single-minded pursuit of one's own self-interest might have seemed admirable, at least to some people. Today, the underlying message- that a man's worth is to be measured by the size of his bank balance, and a woman's by the size of her husband's bank balance- makes the film look horribly dated. 3/10
  • After seeing this, my third film from the 7-DVD 'Jean Harlow 100th Anniversary Collection' from Warner Archives, I'm very tempted to say, without exaggerating, that perhaps she was the first 'modern' actress (though Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford would also be in the running). Her speech was very fast by that era's standard, she displayed a huge range of emotion, was incredibly sexy and was great at both comedy and drama.

    This was great, as she's a chorus girl from a poor family in the Midwest who wants to marry a millionaire but the right way, and without sacrificing her values in the process. At first she's not taken seriously, as she meets a wealthy banker (finely played by Lionel Barrymore) who knows what it's like to be on the poor side of the tracks, and enters his social circle. Then his playboy son (a very good performance by Franchot Tone, whom I liked best in 'Mutiny on the Bounty', his only Oscar-nominated work) takes a shine to her, unsure if she's the real thing or just another floozy.

    Heartily recommended. Not a great script, but it's lifted with Harlow's personality, jolly comedic relief by Patsy Kelly and a solid supporting cast, decently directed. For single-handedly saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy just the previous year, she deserved better but this wasn't a bad showcase at all for her considerable talents.