Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our Modern Maidens (1929)

"Our Modern Maidens" (1929) is a little gem directed by Jack Conway that is one of my favorite silent films. This "Jazz Age" melodrama is so fun to watch. It provides a glimpse of the roaring 1920's with its fast cars, jazz parties, flappers, bootleg booze and a love quadrangle. Joan Crawford plays Billie Brown and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. plays Gil Jordan, a happy couple who are engaged but keep their engagement a secret until Gil's appointment at the embassy comes through. It is a secret so Billie can charm influential businessman Glenn Abbott, played by Rod La Rocque, in the hope that he can get Gil a diplomatic job. Kentucky Strafford, played by Anita Page, is Billie's best friend whom is secretly in love with Gil. While Billie is trying to get Glenn, Gil and Kentucky have an affair. After Glenn gives Gil the appointment, Billie and Gil's engagement is announced, angering Glenn to the point where he almost rapes Billie. Shortly after Billie marries Gil, Kentucky tells Billie that she is pregnant with Gil's baby. This news creates an upheaval in the lives of the flaming youths.

"Our Modern Maidens" was Crawford's final silent film and her only on-screen appearance with Douglas Fairbanks,Jr. whom she married the same year it was released. It is not surprising they had tremendous chemistry together. The film is very enjoyable to watch. The love scenes are interspersed with a lot of "Jazz Age" fun. Crawford looks radiant dancing with a skimpy Adrian outfit. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is charming and the party scene in which he mocks John Barrymore's facial changes in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and imitates his own father in "Robin Hood" is very amusing and clever. Anita Page is adorable and gives a great performance. What fascinates me the most about this film is the stunning Art Deco sets with its sweeping staircases and geometric designs. "Our Modern Maidens" represents the peak achievements of Hollywood's designers just before the arrival of sound and it is one of the definitive "Jazz Age" films.

1 comment:

  1. Silent, As a huge Joan Crawford fan. This sounds like a very charming and delightful movie I could love. I really enjoyed reading your wonderful review.


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