This has got to be Barbara Stanwyck’s sexiest, raunchiest and most entertaining film. Made just under the wire before the Hays Code, and largely responsible for that puritanical outfit’s creation, it is a breathlessly paced tale of a smart, ruthless girl’s rise in a grim Depression world. With lip-smacking relish, Stanwyck’s appropriately named Lily Powers attacks the 1933 1% and milks those horny old fat cats for everything they’re worth, clad in sensually flattering Orry-Kelly gowns (one which makes her look like a wet seal) and a less flattering sleek helmet of hair. She has her way with an impressive number of men, including a very young 5th-billed John Wayne, but receives her staunchest support from the delicious Teresa Harris, as her BFF/sometime maid, Chico, described at one point as “that fantastic colored girl.” Fantastic she is indeed, so much so that she inspired Lynn Nottage’s brilliant play BY THE WAY MEET VERA STARK.
If you’re in the NYC area this Friday at 4pm drop in and join us for the wildest cinematic ride you’ll ever take.