Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Girl From 10th Avenue (1935)

In honor of the recent anniversary of her death (the 8th), I'll make an entry about one of Bette's earliest starring roles.

Bette Davis plays Miriam Brady, a shop girl who discovers the wealthy Geoffrey Sherwood (Ian Hunter) drunk and angry on the streets, yelling at the wedding party of the woman who rejected him for a wealthier man. Miriam takes Geoffrey to a cafe, to avoid the police who may arrest him for being drunk. At the cafe, two of Geoffrey's friends offer Miriam $100 to keep an eye on Geoffrey for the day.

The two wake up the next morning to discover that they had gotten s-faced and married each other. Miriam gives Geoffrey the go-ahead to leave at any time, but he stays with her and she helps keep him sober. But soon Geoffrey's former flame enters the picture, which complicates things.

The film is watchable, only because of Bette Davis. Really, because Ian Hunter is so boring, and so weak that we don't really care about what happens to him. Whereas Bette Davis is dynamic and interesting (though it's a role we've seen from her many times) as a tough, yet sensitive woman who is falling in love with a man who could leave her at any moment.

Plus, the film tries to make Miriam's lower class upbringing and behavior a major factor as to why Geoffrey may leave her, since his old girlfriend is wealthier and refined. The problem with this is that Miriam isn't really shown to be uncouth or anything that would make this such a problem. Her speech isn't really any different from any of the upper class people seen in the film, so the main contributor of the "Will he or won't he stay with her?" conflict isn't even apparent to the viewer.

That said, the film is a decent soap opera, with Bette Davis saving it from total mediocrity, which is common in a lot of her films. So if you're a fan, then see it.

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