Ladies They Talk About

1933, Movie, NR, 68 mins


Pictures about women in prison have long been a staple in the theaters. This is just one more in the list that includes LADIES OF THE BIG HOUSE, PRISON WITHOUT BARS, GIRLS BEHIND BARS, WOMEN'S PRISON, GIRLS' PRISON, CAGED, I WANT TO LIVE, CHAINED HEAT, and on and on. Based on the true-life experiences of actress Dorothy Mackaye, who went to jail after her husband was killed in a battle with actor Paul Kelly, who was also sentenced to prison, LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT was presented in California as a play with Mackaye in the lead. Stanwyck is a tough-talking gun moll who is part of a gang of bank robbers. They are soon caught, and she's sent to the female division of San Quentin, where life isn't nearly as bad as in some of the aforementioned pictures. The inmates fix their cells up like rooms in a resort, they seem to be able to roam around as they please, they play cards, and are apparently staying at a spa. The man who arranged to have her sentenced is an old boy friend, a combination evangelist and district attorney played by Foster. It should go without saying that Foster falls for Stanwyck, despite having to do his job by putting her away. Once inside, Stanwyck asserts herself and soon is the leader of the inmates, among whom are Roth and Eburne. Stanwyck leads a jailbreak but is double-crossed, and two of her fellow prisoners are killed. She thinks that Foster blew the whistle. When she's eventually released, she goes after Foster, who is in the midst of running a revival meeting. She has a gun with her, shoots, hits him in the arm, and immediately regrets her deed as she realizes that she loves him. Roth sings "If I Could Be with You" to a photo of Joe Brown, and Etta Moten does "St. Louis Blues" off-stage. Stanwyck must have liked being called a "lady" because she also made LADIES OF LEISURE, GAMBLING LADY, A LOST LADY, THE GREAT MAN'S LADY, LADY OF BURLESQUE, THE LADY GAMBLES, and TO PLEASE A LADY. Before settling on the final title, this was variously called "Betrayed," "Lady No. 6142," "Prisoner No. 6142," and "Women In Prison." The acting was pretty good and the film was pretty short, both plusses. The major problem was everything else. leave a comment

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