14 November 2011 | dougdoepke
Lightweight but Revealing
It may be lightweight fare, but the movie's still a revealing glimpse of the upper 1% of the 1930's. There's heartache aplenty when rich boy (Ayers) dates taxi dancer (Turner) from lower 99% and then stands her up in front of his snooty social circle. She's humiliated, to say the least, and we feel for her. Rich boy, Phil, has a lot to learn about life and people, and the remainder shows him trying to get things straight.
It's an MGM production so the glossy upper crust is spread on convincingly, from the high fashion clothes to the glittering ballrooms to the carefree attitudes. At the same time, the girls don't disappoint in the glamour department just as the title promises. We also get a cross-section of personality types from bitchy Daphne to misfit Betty to nice girl Carol. So it's lots of eye candy with some clumsy humor thrown in (the drunken Harvard man). But then, the movie turns dark near the end, and we see the downside of all the glitter (the stockbroker dad; an onrushing train). Notice, however, how biology ultimately triumphs over class.
The competition may be heavy but Turner shines as the working girl with stars in her eyes. But I especially like a rather obscure Jane Bryan (Carol) who projects an effortless inner radiance. Too bad that she left the business so soon. All in all, the film's a diverting peek into class mores of the time, a topic I expect still resonates with today's 99%.