- by Zoë Shaw
While in Paris,
Julian suddenly finds he has three women (Susie, Anna and Marguerite), and
two men out to get him (Paul and Ramon) It all ends happily with Anna and
Julian ending up together.
As I began watching Ladies Should Listen, I
actually thought I was watching Kiss & Make Up all over again. Once again,
Cary, playing Julian de Lussac, is frolicking about with any and every beautiful woman in
Paris. He plays an investor with an expiring option in Chilean mineral rights. Unknown to
Julian is that his current amore, Marguerite, is the scheming wife of a dangerous,
scheming investor. Both are contriving to part Julian and his mineral option. This time,
the woman who brings him to his senses is the switchboard operator of his apartment
Anna knows every detail of Julians many affairs and
has fallen in love with him via listening in on his phone conversations. She knows why
each love affair occurred and why each ended. She also knows from her connections with
other operators, just what Marguerite and her husband are up to.
When Marguerite pretends to jilt Julian over the phone, he
pretends to shoot himself over the telephone so that she will rush to his side. Instead,
Anna, since she had been listening in, rushes to his apartment and professes her love over
his corpse. Oops! Hes not dead!
Julian is flattered by Annas adoration, but in no way
returns it and practically tosses Anna from his apartment as Marguerite rushes in. From
that point on, Annas secret love is out in the open and Anna wages war against the
evil couple who are trying to dupe Julian. Her weapon: the switchboard.
In the end of this mess of a movie, Anna, of course ends up
with Julian. Wow! Big surprise. Just another movie, a poor one too, that shows that a man
with the morals of an alley cat just needs the right woman to show him the path to true
With Annas guidance, misadventures abound. There are
some wonderful dialogues between Edward Everett Horton & Cary. I cringed at the
horrendous acting by all of the rest of the cast. Why there existed a besotted,
bespectacled, misfit heiress was beyond my understanding. I truly enjoyed Julians
manservant who invents nifty gadgets - such as windshield wipers for a steamed bathroom
mirror and a machine that makes thunderstorm sounds. Oh! And lest I forget, heres
another movie where Cary sings! Definitely always worth a listen.
Film Review - July 31, 1934
- by "Kauf"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Basically there may have
been enough comedy and farce possibility in this story, but, as
handled, it emerges as a much too highly strained attempt at
farce. A good deal of it is actually unfunny, and all of it
is too synthetic. No real marquee strength, either, all of
which seems to indicate a moderate box office return.
The late Alfred Savoir wrote this
play some years back. It wandered about for a while, Guy
Bolton adapted it, and it was tried out in a summer theatre near
New York two summers ago. It didn't reach Broadway.
That may or may not have been due to the fact that it was slightly
old-fashioned. But Douglas MacLean, in producing it,
emphasized the very things that made it old-fashioned rather than
Cary Grant is brutally miscast as a
philandering young Parisian. He plays the part for comedy,
miscuing several times. On the other hand, Frances Drake as
his vis-à-vis, a nosey telephone girl, who listens in on
conversations and has a habit of trying to straighten things out
for other people, turns in her best performance yet and does much
to establish herself.
Grant arrives in Paris from a
vacation with a valuable nitrate contract. Rosita Moreno and
her husband begin working the badger game on him to get the paper
away. Meantime his friend, Edward Everett Horton, is the fiancée
of an eccentric wealthy and myopic gal, Nydia Westman. Miss
Westman inveigles Grant into compromising her so that he has to
promise to marry her. But the phone girl, Frances Drake,
really in love with Grant, listens in on everything and fixes
everything up all around.
Picture allows Charles Ray to make
a film comeback in a very minor role. Handles a comedy bit
very effectively and ought to be able to go places again.
Nydia Westman is very effective in
her comedy assignment, and Rosita Moreno, from vaudeville and
Spanish films, will get the males interested in her
pulchritude. Horton is at his usual best and George Barbier,
too, has an easy time of it.
Claude Binyon and Frank Butler
overworked hoke and puns in their adaptation, and these were all
overstrained in the direction.
NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - July
- by Frank S. Nugent
- submitted by Barry Martin
Back in the good old days - before the Broadway gossip
columnists arrived - it was considered wrong to eavesdrop.
"Ladies Should Listen," now showing at the Paramount,
is, if anything, a defense of snooping. The film's
snooper-in-chief is Frances Drake. Its snoopee, as it were, is
Miss Drake, as Anna Mirelle, has a
perfect eavesdropping set-up. She is the telephone girl in the
hotel where Julian de Lussac (Mr. Grant) is alternately engrossed
in affairs of the heart and worry over his expiring option on a
Chilean nitrate concession. Anna has formed the delightful habit
of listening in on Julian's calls. She knows, therefrom, exactly
how he spends his days - and nights.
Armed with this knowledge and
spurred by that emotion which makes the world go round, she
appoints herself a committee of one for the salvation of Julian.
She entangles, and disentangles, his romantic affairs. She saves
him - and his nitrate concession - from a scheming woman and her
husband. She gets him engaged to an heiress, thereby assuring him
of financial support for the Chilean proposition. And eventually
(need it be said?) she wins the hero's heart.
It is an alarming thesis, this
"Ladies Should Listen." Every impressionable telephone
operator who chances to see the picture becomes a potential ruler
of destiny. Single young men might do well, until this film has
passed, to speak in code over their home phones or to call from
the corner drug store.
Aside from its theme, the Paramount
offering has little to recommend it. There are a few brief moments
when the spectator entertains some hope that the picture is
getting into the farce stride, but the promise is not kept; the
film sags painfully. It resorts to a number of dull and more than
faintly reminiscent situations, and the dialogue sparkles but
On the stage the theatre is
presenting an intimate revue called "Young America,"
featuring three young radio performers - Victor Young, musical
conductor; Leo Wiley, singer, and Bob Crosby, younger brother of
the better-known Bing.
DAILY TRIBUNE Film Review - October 10, 1934
- by Mae Tinée
- submitted by Renee Klish
Ladies SHOULD listen?
Ladies DO listen!
Rather ONE lady listens - but
there's so much horsepower to her listening that she's the equal
of full squads of listening police and the Brain Trust, and as a
one woman emergency relief association she takes the cake.
The lady? A Parisian
apartment house switchboard operator. Who becomes interested
in the hectic love affairs of a young man living in the building.
Here mere curiosity develops into
furious pity for the defenseless gentleman who is, she tells him,
always being "sculped."
"'SCULPED'? You mean scalped,
don't you?" he inquires.
Because you are just putty. The woman do what they like with
you . . ."
You've heard of how pity is akin to
love . . .?
Anna's listening in proves Julian
to be an intended victim of his current infatuation of her Spanish
husband - object of the twain being to get him to sign over a
certain valuable option . . .
Against his will, this noble and
resourceful mademoiselle saves and saves and saves the blind,
beautiful, and bamboozled tenant, and - but maybe you can guess
the rest . . .?
A sparkling, lightsome. laughable
bit of screen nonsense, "Ladies Should Listen" - patly
dialoged, aptly acted, and smartly directed and staged.
Cary Grant and Frances Drake make
an ingratiating team. Nydia Westman and Edward Everett
Horton contribute farce comedy effects in pleasing fashion.
The piece has several clever twists
and is commendably brief.
Film Review - August 25, 1934
- by Nelson B Bell
- submitted by Renee Klish
This is, perhaps, a little more
substantial in texture than "Kiss and Make Up," in which
Cary Grant recently appeared, but it still is a very gay and giddy
French farce, light as eiderdown and frisky as a colt let out to
That, in point of fact, is
approximately what Cary Grant is - a colt let out to
pasture. The results are not entirely salutary. A
handsome, but impetuous, young bachelor, Julian de Lussac, returns
from Chile to Paris; penniless, save for a week's option on a
nitrate concession. Almost immediately he finds himself the
object of the predatory attentions of an avaricious young Chilean
blackmailer and his fascinating wife, a solicitous telephone
operator in his apartment house, his best friend's fiancée, his
best friend and his best friend's fiancée's father.
Trick Thunder Storms
His apartment is the center of
attraction. Most of the action takes place there and,
against the coming of some such an eventuation, Julian has the
place all tricked out with a variety of peculiar gadgets
calculated to make romance easy. For example, he has a storm
sheet and thunder attachment rigged up in his flat so that by
pressure of a button he can create synthetic thunder showers and
dissuade conscientious and home-loving young housewives and others
of the distaff persuasion to linger beyond the habitual
quarter-to-six, at which hour they must hurry home to hubby, or
some one. This works rather well.
Suicide also is resorted to, in a
safely renatured form, to impress susceptible young women who
otherwise do not seem sufficiently intrigued by De Lussac's ardent
So no it ought to be possible to
perceive how the best friend's fiancée should decide that Julian
was the better match; that the Chilean and his fiery wife merely
plot to gain possession of the option; why the best friend's fiancée's
father doesn't quite get what it is all about and in what manner
the telephone operator, a sort of self-appointed guardian angel
over Julian's destiny, manages to cop him for herself after having
pretended to be engaged to the doorman.
Certain it sounds silly. It
is that kind of a story.
Grant Goes Comic
Cary Grant is, beyond anything he
has done heretofore, the facile comedian in this feathery
trifle. Frances Drake, playing opposite, assumes a charming naiveté
that her roles with George Raft gave her no possible opportunity
to reveal. Edward Everett Horton and Nydia Westman are
splendidly cast as the secondary lovers and George Barbier as the
irate father. Rafael Corio and Rosita Moreno are the Chilean
plotters, and Charles Ray, back in a speaking role after months of
absence from the screen, acquits himself well as the doorman - a
rather more important figure in the plot than such flunkies
usually are. Mr. Ray was the only member of the cast who
received applause on his first entrance.
The settings are luxurious, as
befits the apartments of young people without any money living in
Paris. The direction is brisk and breezy and keeps the
action stirred to an agreeable intensity throughout the comedy's
entire length. The dialogue is sprightly without being at
all brilliant and the whole thing, despite its Gallic flavor, is
completely on the side of discretion and good taste.
- by Kathy Fox
LADIES SHOULD LISTEN
is Cary Grant's 17th film and as some reviews stated, an unforgettable one.
However, it has a few redeeming factors. Grant looks great and his
comedic talent shows up very positively. The story is a cute one in
which a woman, Anna Mirelle, played by Frances Drake, plays a switchboard
operator in an apartment building in Paris, France, and she listens in on
all the conversations of the tenants. This is probably the precursor
of the 1950's Broadway musical, BELLS ARE RINGING, which starred Judy
Holliday, who operated the Suzanswerphone. Anyway, all kinds of
situations are conjured up with mistaken love affairs, con operations, and
finally Julian de Lussac (Grant) ends up with the switchboard operator,
because she has saved his life many times by eavesdropping in on his phone
conversations. Actually, some of the sets in this movie were recycled
from Grant's previous movie, KISS AND MAKE UP. Grant was becoming
further dissatisfied with Paramount and requested that he be loaned out to
MGM, which was denied, further deepening the growing rift between Grant and
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