Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #388: New to the City

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is "New to the City", which sounds familiar, but I think the similar theme we did was "New Kid in School". I decided to reach back and pick three not particularly well-known movies from the pre-Code era:

Street Girl (1929). Betty Compson plays an immigrant from Central Europe who hasn't been able to be successful in New York, but is rescued by a band. She happens to be a very good violinist, so they take her on and put her up in their apartment. The bandleader (John Harron) falls in love with her, but there's a plot about a prince from her home country (Ivan Lebedeff) visiting New York.

Big City Blues (1932). Eric Lindon plays the new kid, fleeing a dull small town in Indiana to try to make a success of himself in the big city. He immediately gets exploited by his cousin when said cousin finds he's got a wad of cash; the exploitation ultimately leads to a hotel party where somebody gets killed. Chorus girl Joan Blondell, also from a small town, is the one person to show Linden any kindness.

Aggie Appleby, Maker of Men (1933). Wynne Gibson plays Aggie, who loses her boyfriend (William Gargan) when he has to go to prison. Thanks to the help of friend Zasu Pitts, Aggie gets a place to stay, but she'll be rooming with a man new to the city from upstate (Charles Farrell). He's not ready for the big time, so Aggie will turn him into a real man, even if that means having him pose as her old boyfriend which runs Farrell afoul of the criminal set with which Gargan liked to run.


joel65913 said...

Three good choices!

Street Girl was rather rough around the edges showing some of the difficulties of the transition from silent to sound but I did ultimately enjoy it.

Eric Linden's character is such a sap in Big City Blues it was hard to sympathize with him at times but Joan Blondell saves the movie as she so often did from going off the rails.

I really liked Aggie Appleby, Maker of Men because of Wynne Gibson. It's such a shame she's not better remembered now, she was a very effective performer.

I reached back for my first but went a bit more current with my others.

Baby Face (1933)-Lily Powers (Barbara Stanwyck) is being pimped out by her scumbag father (Robert Barrat) in his grimy small time Pennsylvania speakeasy. When he’s killed by a still explosion Lily, along with friend Chico (Theresa Harris), jumps on a freight train to New York City. Espying a woman emerging from a tall office building in furs Lily decides that’s where opportunity lies and gets a secretarial job by screwing the hiring manager. She proceeds to work her way up (illustrated by the camera panning up several floors of the building at intervals) using her horizontal skills until she’s the mistress of the head of the company. But there’s a price to pay! Originally there was no price, but the film was considered so salacious that along with several other (The Story of Temple Drake, Convention City (which was deemed so scandalous the studio destroyed ALL copies of the film) She Done Him Wrong, etc.) it caused a major clampdown of the Production Code and an alteration of this film’s finale.

Footloose (1984)-Moving from Chicago to the small town of Beaumont teen Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) comes up against a real culture shock when he discovers that dancing and rock music are illegal thanks to the town’s close-minded preacher Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow). But with the help of his newfound friends Willard Hewitt (Christopher Penn), and the rev’s daughter Ariel (Lori Singer) Ren is determined to rock this town back to life!

Coyote Ugly (2000)-Having just turned 21 Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) moves to New York with hopes of becoming a songwriter. To get by she takes a job as a barmaid at the happening watering hole of the moment, Coyote Ugly. The "Coyotes" as the media refers to them perform outrageous antics while serving up drinks and Violet finds her dreams sidelined as she gets caught up in the whirl. Foolishly undemanding.

Birgit said...

Oh you went back and I love it even though I have not seen any of these films but, as you know, I would love to.