E.A. Dupont

T. alt.: Four Wise Girls. Sog.: dai racconti Lilies of Broadway e Scarlet Sisterhood di William Hurlbut, e Playgirls, Inc. di Robert Harris. Scen.: John Francis Larkin. M.: Robert Carlisle. Scgf.: Danny Hall. Int.: June Knight (Jeannie Marlow), Neil Hamilton (Bill Langhorne), Sally O’Neil (Dot La Tour), Dorothy Burgess (Peggy Burns), Mary Carlisle (Sally Lou Cateret), George E. Stone (Joey), Maude Eburne (Madame Fifi), Oscar Apfel (Herman Nussbauer). Prod.: Carl Laemmle Jr. per Universal Pictures Corp. 35mm. D.: 70’. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Universal famously recruited the director Paul Leni (The Cat and the Canary) and the cinematographer Karl Freund (Dracula) from the Weimar cinema; less well known are the visits of director E.A. Dupont (Variety) at the studio, for the now lost 1927 Love Me and the World Is Mine and this comedy from 1933, a variation of Warner Bros.’s Gold Diggers series with more than a touch of Weimar cynicism.
Finding themselves temporarily between sugar daddies, three professional party girls (Sally O’Neil, Dorothy Burgess and Mary Carlisle) draw up a contract promising to share and share alike in any future plunder, and trick their more idealistic roommate (June Knight) into signing it as well. The contract is forgotten until Knight begins seeing a Park Avenue playboy (the inevitable Neil Hamilton) who may actually harbor some genuine feeling for her. By now reduced to acting as ‘hostesses’ in a ‘night club’ operated by one Madame Fifi (Maude Eburne, Hollywood’s favorite procuress), the girls turn on their former friend, threatening to reveal their profit-sharing arrangement to Hamilton unless Knight cuts them in on the deal.
By this point in his career, Dupont had become an international gadfly, making films in Britain, France and Germany, often in multiple language versions (Atlantic, Trapeze). Ladies Must Love marked the beginning of a long and not particularly happy sojourn in Hollywood, which included only one other film (the curious 1951 film noir The Scarf) of any evident personal value. Yet Dupont’s direction here is tight and technically sophisticated, revealing a sly, censor-baiting wit (much is made of a pet cat passed back and forth by the two lovers), and an appreciation for the manifold charms of his unjustly forgotten star, the leggy, spirited Knight.


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