Ex-Lady (1933, Robert Florey)

A clunky-ass early sound feature full of outrageous pre-code affairs. Feels earlier than it is, both sound-wise and code-wise, though it’s already a remake of another early-sound pre-code, Illicit starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Bette Davis (only the second of her movies that I’ve seen, after All About Eve) is the only one here with personality, surrounded by a buncha galoots. Let’s see if I can get the galoots straight: she marries Gene Raymond (Flying Down to Rio, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) but he cheats with business partner Kay Strozzi (Captain Applejack) so Bette cheats with Monroe Righter Owsley (his real name! of the similar-sounding Indiscreet with Gloria Swanson). Oh and their drunk friend Frank McHugh (The Dawn Patrol, I Love You Again) shows up at everyone’s house to drink for free, pines for Claire Dodd.

“Dull, dull, dull,” Bette proclaims, and we said the same. She’s cute at least, with a great voice. Florey, who’d helped make the remarkable Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra, was now churning out Hollywood crapola, 3-5 features per year. Shot by six-time oscar nominee Tony Gaudio. The editor worked on Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, a movie which I must find.

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