1932 - featuring Joan Blondell and George Brent
"I'm tired and I'm bored. I think I'll donate my pink and white body* to science and commit suicide," says Nurse Blondell after pulling a long shift at the hospital, one of many such shifts without let up. She then suddenly gets reassigned to do a nursing job for the local police, but not before director Lloyd Bacon makes sure we get to watch Blondell undress and put on a negligee, which seems to have been a required visual rite-of-passage for these kind of pre-code films.
George Brent is on hand (as Police Inspector Patten) and lets Blondell's character know that "you're really working for police headquarters." He starts calling her 'Miss Pinkerton' as she starts finding clues about what's really going on in the enormous old house where she is assigned to care for an elderly lady. They are surrounded in the home by sinister servants and family, and the apparent murder of a young man of the family who was inexplicably murdered in the home, which has conveniently saved everyone from poverty because of the large life insurance policy he took out just before becoming dead. Blondell tries to sort out the mess and Brent pops in and out.
Blondell and Brent present their particular acting speciality with rough skill, but director Bacon doesn't help matters much as most of the other actors deliver their lines flat and as if they're reading them off cards or just suddenly remembering them, with small pauses interrupting some of the lines. This is either from severe under-rehearsal or just the problem of early "talkie" films struggling to work out how to handle recorded dialogue, though by 1932 most production crews had worked it out. But, alas, not here. Miss Pinkerton suffers from the "old haunted house" story line, and the clumsy acting. Bacon does use a lot of inventive camera angles, though often enough its for purposes that add nothing to the story, such as shooting up at characters from between their legs, as if the audience is a nodding baby. Maybe much of the 1932 audience was nodding, since Miss Pinkerton just isn't quite able to put all its pieces together properly.
* A reference to Joan Blondell's 'pink and white' body is also made in her 1933 film Havana Widows.
Best. Movie. Year. Ever.How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen - Fight Club. The Matrix. Office Space. Election. The Blair Witch Project. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. American Beauty. The Virgin Suicides. Boys Don’t Cry. The Best Man. Three Kings. Magnolia. - 416 pages - AMAZON 2019
GiantGiant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean - A larger-than-life narrative of the making of the classic film - 336 pages - St. Martin's Press 2018 - AMAZON
In this compelling and impeccably researched narrative history of the making of the film, Don Graham chronicles the stories of the stars and Director Stevens, whose trauma in World War II intensified his ambition to make films that would tell the story of America
Original Page December 2019
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- John Wayne
- Hondo 1953
- Miss Pinkerton - 1932
- The Last Man on Earth - 1964
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- The Naked Prey - 1965
- My Man Godfrey - 1936
- Beauty and the Beast - 1946 (French)
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- Classic Film Wishes for 2019
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- Mildred Pierce - 1945
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- Young Frankenstein - 1974
- Little Miss Marker - 1934 - Shirley Temple