Friday, April 8, 2011

I Can Get It For You Wholesale

Tomorrow, the Fox Movie Channel is running another of its programming events that shows that at least they're trying, but don't really have either the library of the imagination to do it as well as TCM. This particular marathon is about working women, and one of the movies getting a pair of showings is I Can Get It For You Wholesale, which comes on at 7:30 AM and 3:30 PM ET.

Before I ever saw the movie, I thought from the title it sounded like a musical comedy, or perhaps a romantic comedy, but in fact it's neither. It's a moderately gritty drama set in Manhattan's fashion district. Susan Hayward stars as Harriet Boyd, a walking trope. She's the girl from the small town who's come to New York to make it big, and is working as a clothes horse for a small-time designer making clothes for mass production in Middle America. But she's got ideas! And a sister she's taking care of, too, who has an inheritance that Harriet could use for her idea, which is to go into business on her own as a designer. So, our heroine sees that she has to be ruthless and not let men walk all over her, and tricks everyone she can into getting the money she needs to start her own fashion house, including her sister.

Now if you think the tropes are done yet, you've got another thing coming. Harriet goes into business with two of her colleagues from her former job: salesman Ted Sherman (Dan Dailey), and Sam Cooper (Sam Jaffe), whose job it is to take the designs that are on paper and see that they can be converted into real fabric that can be mass produced for the low low price of only $10.95 or so. Deep down inside, Ted loves Harriet, but Harriet's not about to let a little thing like love get in the way of her rise to the top. She's about to have her principle tested, though, in the form of department store owner J.F. Noble (George Sanders). He sees Harriet's designs, and wants her to produce exclusively for him, and make higher-end stuff. This, however, entails burning the candle at both ends and risking the contracts she's already got.

This is a bit of a tough movie to rate. The performances are all quite good, but it's in service of a story and characters that are full of stereotypes. I couldn't help but think as I watched it the first time that I'd been down the same road in a dozen other "ruthless woman in a man's world" movies. Still, I Can Get It For You Wholesale is a worthwhile watch. Hayward plays the ambitious character well; Dan Dailey shows he's more than just a musicals man; Sam Jaffe never gets the credit he deserves despite having been an excellent character actor in films like The Asphalt Jungle. And George Sanders is perfect for the role of Mr. Noble.

I Can Get It For You Wholesale doesn't seem to have gotten a DVD release, so you're going to have to catch the Fox Movie Channel showing. You probably should.

1 comment:

AnthaReddy said...

Today i have watched this movie, it was amazing, i enjoyed it.

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