Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forty Naughty Girls (1937)

On the opening night of a Broadway play, the press agent is murdered. While the play is in progress, the police inspector (James Gleason) investigates while his lady friend (ZaSu Pitts) noses around.

The plot thickens, there are more murders, and the audience is comedically pointed in many different directions. All in all, Forty Naughty Girls is a fair mystery and comedy. Lets chat about Zasu.

Zasu was a silent film dramatic actress who transitioned into comedy. Her manner and voice will seem to some like a copy of Olive Oyl from the old Popeye cartoons, but in fact it's the other way around. It was Zasu who was being copied. Her name, by the way, was an apparent ploy for family peace. Two aunts wanted her named after them, so her mother named her after both. Eliza Susan. Her nicname is pronounced "Zay-soo". She had a long career in comedy and died at 69, the same as my aunt.

As said before, it's a fair comedy and mystery, better than some (I'm looking at you, Charlie Chan) but otherwise unremarkable save for Zasu's performance. It is also an excellent example of post-code movies being given a misleadingly racy title. AMRU 3.

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