Sunday, October 7, 2012
Riffraff(1936). Cast: Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy. The movie was written by Frances Marion, Anita Loos, and H. W. Hannaford. Directed by J. Walter Ruben.
As the fishermen are all about to strike against tuna cannery boss Nick Lewis, Dutch Muller talks them out of it, realizing that Nick wants them to break their contract with him so he can hire cheaper labor.
On the day of Dutch's and Hattie's wedding, Dutch shows her their new home and tells her that he will be the new union head because Brains, is going to be replaced. As his first official act, Dutch calls for a strike.
Weeks after the strike Brains tries to work a settlement with Nick and replaces Dutch. Now broke, Dutch watches as their furniture is repossessed and refuses Brains's offer to take him back into the union. "Flytrap," arrives with Hattie's repossessed fur. Because Nick is in love with Hattie, he has paid all of her bills. Dutch, becomes angry with Brains when he tells him to give up his conceit. When Hattie agrees with Brains, Nick walks out.
Nick convinces Hattie to get a divorce, but.. she still refuses to marry him. When Dutch's friend Lew tells her that Dutch is sick and has been living in a hobo camp, she asks Nick for money, but he refuses. She takes it, leaving a note promising to pay him back, but at the hobo camp, Dutch jumps a freight to avoid seeing her. Nick then presses charges against her and she goes to prison, even though she is pregnant.
After the baby is born, Hattie's sister Lil takes care of him. Hearing that Hattie has been jailed, but not knowing about the baby, Dutch goes to Nick for help, but he refuses and the union also does not want him back. Dutch then goes to see Hattie with an escape plan, but.. she says she never wants to see him again.
She tells two other inmates about Dutch's escape plan and they convince her that it will work.
Meanwhile, Dutch goes to Brains begging for a job to help Hattie, and Brains gets him a job as a night watchman.
One rainy night, Hattie and two other women escape from prison through a drain pipe, but one of the women is killed. That same night, while Dutch is standing guard, his friend Belcher and some other men come to him with a plan about sabotaging the docks, but Dutch refuses to go through with it and stops their plans.
Hattie has arrived at Lil's and asks Jimmy to find Dutch, who has just heard about Hattie's escape. Jimmy tries to talk to him, but Dutch sends him away because, the police are there asking him questions. Will Jimmy ever return to Hattie and their baby?
I'm a huge Jean Harlow fan and she looks wonderful in this movie. Spencer Tracy, plays a immature and bull headed character. Who, is always getting in arguments or fights at every opportunity. Not one of my favorite Spencer Tracy characters. Una Merkel, plays the sister and a very young Mickey Rooney, plays the brother.
She soon found steady if not prestigious work in Columbia Pictures' two-reel comedies. She appeared frequently with The Three Stooges, who were only a few inches taller than she was, and in 1940 she became Buster Keaton's leading lady, for the same reason: her height complemented his. She also worked with Columbia comics Andy Clyde, El Brendel, and Hugh Herbert.
Some of her Stooge comedies were Loco Boy Makes Good, So Long Mr. Chumps, and In the Sweet Pie and Pie. One memorable appearance was as Rosita in 1940's Cookoo Cavaliers. In the film, Appleby gets hit by the Stooges when a facial "mud pack" made of cement dries on her face.
One of her last screen roles was a one-line bit (playing a college co-ed at age 35) in the 1941 Jane Withers feature Small Town Deb. Appleby left Hollywood in 1943 and married musician Paul Drake soon after. They remained married until her death August 9, 1990.