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"Ladies Should Listen"

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Character's Name: Julian de Lussac
Release Date:  August 10, 1934
Director: Frank Tuttle
Studio:  Paramount Publix
Running Time: 61 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Julian de Lussac), Frances Drake (Anna Mirelle), Edward Everett Horton (Paul Vernet)), Charles E. Arnt (Albert), Rosita Moreno (Marguerite Cintos), Nydia Westman (Susie Flamberg), Goerge Barbier (Joseph Flamberg), Rafael Corio (Ramon Cintos), Charles Ray (Henri)

- 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.

- by Debbie Dunlap
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 building, Anna.

Anna knows every detail of Julian’s 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! He’s not dead!

Julian is flattered by Anna’s adoration, but in no way returns it and practically tosses Anna from his apartment as Marguerite rushes in. From that point on, Anna’s 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 love.

With Anna’s 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 Julian’s 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, here’s another movie where Cary sings! Definitely always worth a listen.

VARIETY 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 restraining it.  

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 28, 1934
- 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 Cary Grant.

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 seldom.

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.  

CHICAGO 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.

"No.  Sculped!  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.

THE WASHINGTON POST 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 pasture.

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 wooing.

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 Paramount.

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