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Girls About Town(1931)

Allegedly inspired by Tallulah Bankhead’s free-living ways, this picture traces the fortunes of two women, avaricious Marie (Lilyan Tashman) and good-hearted Wanda (Kay Francis), paid to date wealthy men. Any gifts they accumulate, like the jewels Tashman finagles out of a copper king (Eugene Pallette) are just icing on the cake. As a pre-Code film, the comedy flirts with the risqué, although the girls play their cards well by having their maid (Louise Beavers) wait at the window pretending to be their mother so they can’t ask their amorous suitors in for a nightcap. Under George Cukor’s direction (this was only the second film he directed on his own). their adventures are always more elegant than lewd, even when Francis has to cope with a grasping ex-husband. Tashman and Francis were consistently ranked among Hollywood’s best-dressed women, and they look impossibly chic in their Travis Banton gowns. They’re also very gifted comedic actresses, something often overlooked because of Tashman’s early death (in 1934), but here both women prove their talent. (d. George Cukor, 80m, 35mm)

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