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  • This was a good "who done it?" that despite a small budget, was, none the less, very entertaining. Set as a group sorority vacation in the mountains, the plot centers on a hated girl who is murdered, and then one of her sorority sisters turns detective to find the killer. The cast was first rate, and the film was well directed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ann Harding had been a wonderful actress back in the early thirties. Her silvery blonde hair, beauty and husky "million dollar" voice meant that even when she played self sacrificing heroines, she was always believable. In the forties she began her stint as a character actress and her still regal beauty was effective even when cast as a teacher/chaperone in Columbia's sorority "who done it" - "Nine Girls".

    Paula is the most hated girl in the Sorority - trying to steal Jane's boyfriend, blackmail, suddenly "lording" it over Mary, who has a black sheep brother who will ruin her chance to graduate (we aren't told how) etc you get the picture - so when Paula turns up dead, everyone has a motive, even Miss Thornton, the chaperone/teacher who is in love with Paula's father and Paula will stop at nothing to break up the pair. The "main girl" is Alice, who seems to have a few secrets. She is excellently played by Nina Foch. Paula has lent her $100 and to hush everything up, Alice agrees to write Paula's assignments, but when she refuses Paula threatens to spread stories about her lack of sanity - nice girl!!! Jane also has a dubious alibi, she was supposed to bring Paula back to the initiation lodge but when she arrives, without Paula, she literally has blood on her hands!!

    When dopey cop (William Demarest) is put on guard, the movie, which had been a tight little mystery, took a comic turn. The spotlight was given to "Butch", Shirley, "Tennesse" and Eve (Lyn Merrick impersonated Katherine Hepburn at the drop of a hat). They all provided comic relief. The only actress who didn't get a chance to shine was Leslie Brooks - she could have provided a real sting to this murder tale but she was limited to just a few cutting remarks. The film turns dramatic for the last sequence and strangely, when Demarest is out of the picture. It is a good little rainy day picture and it will definitely keep you guessing "who done it"!!!

    Presenting the Nine Girls - 1. Evelyn Keyes (Mary) will always be remembered by me for her role as the nervous housewife who reports "The Prowler" - policeman Van Heflin comes to investigate and sparks fly!!! 2. Jinx Falkenburg (Jane) was always best when playing herself ie "Cover Girl". She was, at one time, America's number 1 model. 3. Anita Louise (Paula) had been a child star and at this stage was winding down her career. Her blonde beauty was seen to advantage when she played Titania, Queen of the Fairies in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935). 4. Leslie Brooks (Roberta) was always on hand to add a little sour to the sweet ie as Rusty's "friend" in "Cover Girl". Her ultimate bad girl role was in "Blonde Ice". 5. Lynn Merrick (Eve) didn't really rise above Westerns. 6. Jeff Donnell (Butch) was a petite star who had a lengthy career - her most memorable movie was probably "Night Editor". 7. "Nine Girls" was one of Nina Foch's (Alice) first movies and she more than fulfilled her promise. She went on to become one of the Queens of film noir with her splendid performance in "My Name is Julia Ross". 8. Shirley Mills (Tennesse) debuted in the notorious exploitation film "Child Bride"(1938) she also appeared as one of the Joads in "The Grapes of Wrath" but apart from "Nine Girls" most of her appearances were uncredited. 9. Even though Marcia Mae Jones (Shirley) was only 19 when she appeared in this movie, she was already a veteran as she had been making movies all her life, from her first appearance in a Dolores Costello movie "Mannequin" (1926). She will always have a place in movie lovers hearts as the bullied Rosalie in "These Three" (1936).

    Recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One falling star and nine possible rising ones, some who made it, some who faded away. Ann Harding, once RKO's most ladylike heroine, fading from A's, and moving into the realm of a "never heard of". Back after a hiatus in the late 30's-early 40's, she remained quite lovely yet never regained her stature which she shared for several years with Irene Dunne and Katharine Hepburn. Anita Louise, once a popular ingénue, is the bitchy co-ed here, killed off early in the film, and the remaining co-eds and Harding as their devoted den mother. They are all together at the fraternity cabin where the killer is cleverly trapped.

    Ironically, one of the co-eds, an obvious acting major, insists on talking like Hepburn throughout, just one indication that while this surrounds a murder, the atmosphere is often played for laughs with bitchy dialog between all of the girls while Harding remains calm, cool and collected. Jeff Donnell is the masculine " Butch", although it is made clear that she's called that because of her athletic abilities rather than her sexuality. Leslie Brooks, Marcia Mae Jones, Nina Foch and Jinx Falkenburg are among the other girls, often blending together and not immediately identifiable. More comic buffoonery is provided by the often insipid investigators, which includes crotchety William Demarest. This is an above average programmer that might keep you guessing. On the other hand, you may figure it out pretty early as I did.
  • ... and though there are allusions made to the war such as references to losing ones ration book, this is really a story that could have been set anywhere anytime to get peoples' minds off the war and on to the kind of film they would have watched pre-war - a good murder mystery.

    The opening scene shows nine girls posing for their college sorority picture. They are doing so on the front lawn of Paula Canfield's (Anita Louise) estate, with the girls all invited for a swim afterwards. Very quickly you figure out that Paula is bad news. She wants what she wants when she wants it and she doesn't care who she hurts along the way. Paula wants Alice (Nina Foch) to write her term paper for her. When Alice refuses Paula says she'll write her financially strapped family and demand the 100 dollars that Alice borrowed from her to buy an Encyclopedia. When Mary (Evelyn Keyes) overhears Paula trying to steal one of the girl's dates on the phone, she tells the girl who then tells off Paula. In revenge, Paula threatens to spread bad gossip about Mary's brother so that Mary's chances at a teaching job at an exclusive school after graduation will be ruined. All of the other girls have problems with Paula too, these are just the two arguments we see.

    The girls are going on a weekend retreat in the mountains at their sorority lodge along with their chaperon Miss Thornton (Ann Harding). When they get there they hear on the radio that Paula is dead. Shortly thereafter they learn it is no accident - it's murder, because the police show up and tell the girls they prefer that they not go back home, as they were planning, and stay the weekend. Basically they are under house arrest.

    There are any number of suspects. One girl - a medical student - arrived late to the lodge with a bandaged hand and blood on her suitcase. She claimed it was from changing a spare tire - was it? Mary drove separately from the other girls and was there when the others arrived. How did she spend the extra time? Alice is constantly bursting into hysterics, and then there are the other girls who seem too goofy to be anything but harmless, but are they? To keep this on the lighter side William Demarest plays a dim cop who is supposed to be keeping an eye on the group of girls but winds up being more trouble than he's worth.

    At first blush this all seems like a very inventive premise - much like The Women, except you do see a few men. The fact is, necessity is the mother of invention, with that necessity being this: how do you make a film about young people in their early 20's when all of the able bodied men in their early 20's are in military service? Thus the concept of a murder mystery involving an almost entirely female cast, with the few men involved being too old for military duty anyways (the police, Paula's father).

    Highly recommended as a wartime film that has absolutely nothing to do with the war and also happens to be one inventive little murder mystery that will keep you guessing as to what will happen next.
  • Ann Harding is the house mother of a sorority chapter with nine members. One is snobbish, one is smart -- she wears glasses -- another is athletic.... well, you get the idea. Then one of them is dead. And then the police (in the persons of wise, avuncular Willard Robertson and dumb cop William Demarest) show up to investigate the murder.

    This junior-league version of THE WOMEN has a lot to recommend it, even if only three of the actresses playing college students were of college age; the others ranged from 25 to 30: not that I'm complaining. They are a lovely and talented bunch, and attention is given to each of them in the script, even if Evelyn Keyes get a lot of attention and Jeff Donnell gets to be straight man to Demarest.

    Director Leigh Jason was mostly a B director, but he seems to have had a knack for directing ensemble casts of women. I think his best movie is tHE MAD MISS MANTON, also a comedy-mystery. If this one isn't as good, well, it's a solid cast, even if it doesn't have Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. But it does have Ann Harding.
  • AAdaSC6 February 2010
    6/10
    Fun
    Nine girls go to a mountain retreat as part of a college initiation trip but only eight of them arrive. Paula (Anita Louise) never shows up because she has been murdered. The eight girls and their teacher, Miss Thornton (Ann Harding), are visited by police Captain Brooks (Willard Robertson) and his side-kick Walter (William Demarest) investigating the murder. The killer is amongst them......who dunnit?....

    This is a short film with moments of good dialogue, eg, "No-one liked Paula more than me...and I hated her" William Demarest is pointlessly slapstick and plays his part badly. We needed a serious policeman not a clown. He is involved in most of the bad scenes in the film, eg, the scene where Butch (Jeff Donnell) brings him breakfast and then engages him in a conversation about poison to which he gets suspicious and asks Butch to sample every option on his tray. She ends up eating the whole breakfast. We can see this coming from a mile off, it drags on and it's not funny. His attempts at humour are also not needed because the characters of the girls bring their own humour to the proceedings, although Eve's (Lynne Merrick) Katherine Hepburn impression gets tiresome. It's good entertainment with some snappy dialogue but let-down by an unnecessary William Demarest.
  • A madhouse of a movie! Of course one cannot expect good characterisations of young females in a programmer like this. By the way, even in serious A-films of this time you seldom find a teenager who looks and acts like a real teenager. In this film here you see nine girls who look much more like young women (with one or two exceptions). Worst of all, they represent all stereotypes of females when it comes to a crisis. Since other reviewers already sketched the story quite vividly I just say what I felt about it. The main problem is that the girls all have a motive to dislike Paula, so why are they with her? The majority of the girls are so silly it is hard to watch. You think they are just 10 years old although they look at least twice that age. The way they are presented is: one is the bad apple, one (seems to be) the most advanced, one is the beautiful blonde, one learns a lot, one is a tomboy, one is the favorite in the story, one is a chatterbox with too much fantasy and one is plain silly (and one I forgot completely). And the only sensible woman in the film is the chaperon. The film is made for laughs too, and the dialogue is often witty. But the constant repetition of faintings, screams and mindless accusations and behavior weakens the real fun. William Demarest as sidekick to the police lieutenant does his best to divert the attention away from the unbelievable females. Once or twice there are even serious moments and they are well executed. The film gets darker at the end and there is a thriller feeling in it. Could have been much better with more believable characters.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Films as heavily female-centric as "Nine Girls" (there are only two male characters of importance) were not so common in the 1940s (they still aren't, for that matter), so that's one point in this movie's favor right off the bat. Though all of the girls have their moments, my personal favorite is Jeff Donnell as "Butch" (she really isn't, at all; she's just into sports and working out). The script seems influenced by Agatha Christie, as the girls, isolated in a house at the mountains, suspect each other for the murder of their most disliked sorority sister. There are some good humorous lines and some effective red herrings, but the script drops the ball near the end, when it reveals the killer to the audience far before the other characters catch on to her. I thought there might be an additional twist, something to make this a pseudo-reveal, but no: it's a true one. Apart from this reservation, a very enjoyable low-budget film. **1/2 out of 4.
  • Today, many people think B-movies are synonymous with cheap, bad films. Well, that's not what the term originally meant. Back in the 1930s and 40s, going to the theater was a huge thing, since there was practically no television. So, instead of offering patrons just a film, they often had shorts and two movies. The prestigious and higher budgeted movie was the A-picture and the lower cost, shorter film was the B-movie. A typical B lasted 55-65 minutes and featured mostly lesser-known actors and actresses. In the case of "Nine Girl", however, we have a film that isn't quite an A or B picture! In style, it clearly is a B...but at 78 minutes, it's awfully long to be considered a B. So, I guess it's really a B+ movie!

    The story is a very standard sort of murder mystery, the type that were made by practically all the larger and tiny B production companies. The usual cliches are there....the victim is thoroughly despicable and you see her mistreat EVERYONE about her and one of the folks involved in the case isn't about to let the police solve the case...she'll do it herself! This is a funny cliche, as again and again, films of the era made it look incredibly easy for ANYONE to solve murders...except for, of course, the police!!

    As for the specifics, the story begins at a sorority house. Paula is a god-awful lady who steals other ladies' boyfriends and uses blackmail and extortion to get what she wants. By the time the police announce to the girls in the sorority that Paula's been murdered, everyone watching the film has grown to hate Paula!

    Like many Bs, this one has its share of bad actresses...with some really overwrought performances. Oddly, however, the film ALSO has a few decent names...folks with respectable reputations, such as Nina Foch, William Demarest, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Harding and Anita Louise (Paula).

    The overall film is watchable but predictable due to the many cliches and, occasionally, really over the top when it comes to some of the acting. Watchable....not much more.