Playgirl (1954)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir


Playgirl (1954) Poster

A naive Nebraska girl dreams of success in New York where she immerses herself in the glitzy glamorous life of the nightlife and the nightclubs frequented by rich playboys but murder and manipulative people eventually burst her bubble.


5.9/10
98

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26 September 2003 | bmacv
6
| Shelly Winters unloosed in disorganized cautionary melodrama
Before they started streaming into New York from Minnesota, they used to come from Kansas (or, in this case, its neighbor to the north). Wide-eyed Colleen Miller gets off the Big Dog from Grand Island, Nebraska to try her hand at the modeling game; she batches it with an old hometown friend, now a nightspot shantoozie (Shelley Winters, who forebodingly sings the old Sophie Tucker number `There'll Be Some Changes Made').

Winters has all the right connections, both high and low (or so she thinks). She's having an affair with the married publisher (Barry Sullivan) of a photomag, Glitter, and can set Miller up for dates with any number of high-rolling but penniless scions of old-money families. But it's Sullivan who finds Miller more enchanting than the needy Winters, who ends up throwing a drunken wingding in which a pistol plays an inopportune part. Though cleared of murder charges, the two gals from the Great Plains, now mortal enemies, find that nobody wants them anymore, either for torch songs or fashion layouts (Winters confides that she spends her days `breaking phonograph records and emptying ice-cube trays').

There's a lot more plot (and many more characters, most of them generic) in this cautionary melodrama about the snares of the Big Town - maybe too much of both (though it's unfair to judge from a showing cut down to fit a commercial television slot). And It's not clear whether the playgirl of the title is Winters or Miller, or if it even matters. Joseph Pevney seems to be reworking material about the interface between show business and crime that he had done two years earlier, and much more successfully, in Meet Danny Wilson (where Winters also appeared). The movie comes off as unfocused and strident. But then that's the price to be paid for unloosing Winters.

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