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Shopworn (1932)
Topic Started: Jan 1 2018, 06:04 PM (155 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Shopworn (1932) Dir. Nick Grinde
Columbia Pictures
66 min. / B&W / 1.37:1
On DVD from Sony/TCM as part of Columbia Pictures Pre-Code Collection

Talk about your mother-in-law from hell: After her only living parent is killed in a mine disaster, Barbara Stanwyck moves to the city and finds a job as a hamburger slinger for horny college student, and falls for the one that's not a-chasin' her 'round the french fryer: studious Regis Toomey. Regis' wealthy, widowed mom is chagrined at the thought of her boy becoming a husband to a woman who smells like onions, and has a judge friend of hers lock Babs up on a morals charge(!). When she's finally free of THAT drudgery, our Miss Stanwyck becomes a successful dancing girl and then a star of the stage, and as the years pass, she and the hapless mama's boy (and his shark-like mother) cross paths again.

A fun film with slick direction and another great Pre-Code part for Barbara, but the original cut was 72 min. long and there must've been some good stuff (and some plot points) jettisoned as part of those six missing minutes. Still, what's left ain't bad, bub, and it's still the only Pre-Code film I can think of in which the leading couple discuss the word "ejaculate," at least with straight faces.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Unenthusiastic customer to Babs: "I don't like this place anyhow. You may be hot, but the coffee's cold."

Barbara, looking back on her life: "I could cuss when I was six and I could say no when I was 14."

Clara "Auntie Em" Blandick, of all people, is the rotten-to-the-core mother; I cannot emphasize how evil she really is. If she showed up as the villain in the next Avengers movie it wouldn't surprise me. And ZaSu Pitts is the daffy maid, and always appreciated for the touch of levity she brings to the proceedings.

A nice print of the film, with the usual TCM posters and stuff as bonus material, but it sure would be nice to someday find those missing six minutes.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
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Regarding the trims in Shopworn, I remembered and was able to track down this comment by Mike Schlesinger over at Nitrateville when the collection came out:

"Actually, there are a number of post-Code cuts in that and several other Columbia pre-Code titles. Grover Crisp searched diligently for the trims but was ultimately unsuccessful. He was reluctant to release them that way, but I convinced him that we'd rather have 98% of a movie than 0%.

Mike S."

I saw the film, and remember it as tawdry but nothing special.
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