Friday, July 15, 2011
Grand Slam (1933). Directed by William Dieterle. With Paul Lukas, Loretta Young, Frank McHugh, Glenda Farrell.
The story begins when waiter/novelist Peter Stanislavsky marries Marcia, he learns to play bridge even though he thinks that it is a childish game. One evening, while he is working as a waiter at a bridge party given by Lola Starr, he is asked to play, with bridge expert Cedric Van Dorn.
After Peter wins the card game, It makes headlines and Speed McCann ghostwrites a best-selling book for him. A national tour is set up with Marcia as his partner and they sweep the country.
A very enjoyable little comedy, with some unexpected touches like the cast introduced as faces on a deck of cards. Paul Lukas and Loretta Young, make a wonderful team playing the" Bridge Sweethearts", who are fun to watch, even when the story line is not very believable. The film takes advantage of the fad for contract bridge which had swept across the country in the 1920's.
Her brassy persona was used to great effect in the film, Little Caesar (1931) opposite Edward G. Robinson, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) opposite Paul Muni, Havana Widows (1933) with Blondell, Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) opposite Pat O'Brien, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) opposite Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, and The Big Shakedown (1934) with Charles Farrell and Bette Davis.
She became one of Warner Brothers’ most prolific actresses of the 1930s, solidifying her success with her own film film series, as Torchy Blane, "Girl Reporter". In this role Farrell was promoted as being able to speak 400 words in 40 seconds. Farrell would portray the character Torchy Blane in eight films, from 1937 to 1939 when the role was taken over by Jane Wyman.
In 1937 she starred opposite Dick Powell and Joan Blondell in the Academy Award nominated Lloyd Bacon and Busby Berkeley directed musical comedy Gold Diggers of 1937.
Farrell went out of vogue in the 1940s but made a comeback later in life, winning an Emmy Award in 1963, for her work in the television series Ben Casey.