SPOTLIGHT: Youthful Pre-Code Young (IV)

Welcome to a new Film Friday and the continuation of our spotlight series on the Pre-Code work of the beautiful Loretta Young (1913-2000), whose work we’ve never covered before here on Film Friday! So far we’ve featured Loose Ankles (1930), Employees’ Entrance (1933) and Grand Slam (1933). Today…

 

Midnight Mary (1933)

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An abused orphan sinks into a life of crime. Starring Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez, Franchot Tone, Andy Devine, and Una Merkel. Screenplay by Gene Markey & Kathryn Scola. Based on a story by Anita Loos. Directed by William Wellman.

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“While waiting for the jury to decide on her innocence in a murder trial, Mary Martin recalls her past to the court clerk: As a teenager, the orphaned Mary is falsely accused of theft and is sent to a house of corrections for three years. After her release, Mary and her friend Bunny fall in with Leo Darcy and his gang.. and become their unwitting accomplices in a robbery… One night while she and Bunny are setting up a robbery at a private gambling house, Mary is spotted by Tom Mannering, Jr., a “blue-blood” lawyer. Tom falls instantly in love with Mary and, when Leo and the gang become involved in a shootout with the police, helps her to escape. Overwhelmed by Tom’s kindness, Mary finally asks him to help her “go straight” and find honest work… While she and Tom plan their future at a Chinese restaurant, Mary is recognized by a policeman… To save Tom’s reputation, Mary tells him that she has been “playing him for a sucker,” and then gives herself up to the policeman.

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“After refusing to implicate Leo, Mary is sent to prison, and a year later, Tom marries a socialite. Once free… Mary returns to Leo and accepts his lavish gifts but is stunned when she runs into Tom in a nightclub. Suspicious of Mary’s feelings for Tom, Leo threatens the unhappily married lawyer and, after a fight in the club, sends his henchmen to kill Tom. While Mary rushes to warn Tom about Leo, the henchmen mistakenly murder Tom’s best friend. Although Mary pretends to be indifferent about Tom, Leo persists in his demand that he be killed and prepares to do the deed himself. To save Tom, Mary finally shoots and kills Leo and is arrested for murder. Back at the courthouse, Mary, who has said nothing about Tom during the trial, is found guilty. Just as the verdict is read, however, Tom bursts into the court and, after confessing his relationship to Mary, demands an immediate retrial. After Tom’s wife sues him for divorce, Tom prepares to defend his beloved Mary in her new trial.” (This summary is brought to you courtesy of TCM.)

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Come back next Friday for another Young Pre-Code! And tune in on Monday for the start of a whole new week of fun on That’s Entertainment! 

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4 thoughts on “SPOTLIGHT: Youthful Pre-Code Young (IV)

  1. Great article. Too bad Loretta Young couldn’t (or wouldn’t) play bad girl roles after 1934. She was quite good at them. Could you upload the Midnight Mary clip again? For some reason, the current one doesn’t have any sound.

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