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Ladies Should Listen (1934) HD online

Ladies Should Listen (1934) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Comedy / Romance
Original Title: Ladies Should Listen
Director: Frank Tuttle
Writers: Claude Binyon,Guy Bolton
Released: 1934
Duration: 1h 2min
Video type: Movie
The switchboard operator in an apartment building falls in love with a businessman who lives in the building, whom she has gotten to know only over the phone. When she discovers that the man's current girlfriend is actually part of a scheme to swindle him out of some mineral rights he owns, she devises a plot to save him and expose the con artists.
Cast overview:
Cary Grant Cary Grant - Julian De Lussac
Frances Drake Frances Drake - Anna Mirelle
Edward Everett Horton Edward Everett Horton - Paul Vernet
Nydia Westman Nydia Westman - Susie Flamberg
Rafael Storm Rafael Storm - Ramon Cintos (as Rafael Corio)
Rosita Moreno Rosita Moreno - Marguerite Cintos
George Barbier George Barbier - Joseph Flamberg
Charles Ray Charles Ray - Henri, the porter
Charles Arnt Charles Arnt - Albert, the manservant
Ann Sheridan Ann Sheridan - Adele (as Clara Lou Sheridan)
Henrietta Burnside Henrietta Burnside - Operator
Joseph North Joseph North - Butler (as Joe North)

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. It's earliest documented telecast took place in Omaha Monday 16 November 1959 on KETV (Channel 7); despite the presence of a youthful Cary Grant, sponsor resistance to its age and the pre-code aspects of its story resulted in its only rarely being taken out of the vault in other locations; the next visible exception was in San Francisco where it aired Sunday 24 April 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5). It was released on DVD 19 April 2016 as one of 18 [Paramount] films in Universal's Cary Grant - The Vault Collection, and again as a single 6 September 2016 as part of the Universal Vault Series.

Reviews: [9]

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    LADIES SHOULD LISTEN (Paramount, 1934), directed by Frank Tuttle, ranks one of the many "drawing room" comedies produced during the 1930s, and although not based on any current stage successes, it looks more like a filmed stage play. Not quite on a lavish scale as the more productive MGM comedy with Robert Montgomery or Norma Shearer, LADIES SHOULD LISTEN features the up-and-coming Cary Grant, several years before rising to super-star status, then showing his capability as a light comedian in spite of acting in a part that might have been best suited for popular Frenchman Maurice Chevalier, who, by then, has moved on and no longer part of the Paramount banner.

    The story revolves around Julian De Lussac (Cary Grant), a Parisian man-about-town who, through no fault of his own, gets himself involved with three women at the same time, including one in particular, Anna Mirelle (Frances Drake), a switchboard operator who listens in on Julian's telephone conversations, who becomes his protector. Aside from Susie Flamberg (Nydia Westman), an comely bespectacled young lady who does her best to garner Julian's attention in spite of being engaged to Paul Vernet (Edward Everett Horton), matters become complicated when Marguerite Cintos (Rosita Moreno), who, along with her husband, Ramon (Rafael Corio), make attempts in having Julian as their next blackmailing victim.

    The supporting cast consists of George Barbier as Susie's father, Joseph; Charles E. Arnt as Albert, the manservant; Charles Ray, a once popular leading man of the silent screen now appearing in minor roles, playing Henri, the building porter who loves operator gal Anna; with Henrietta Burnside and Joe North in smaller roles. Sad-eyed and dark-haired beauty Frances Drake, an up-and-coming Paramount starlet, works well as the nosy switchboard girl who gets herself involved in a playboy's escapades, while Nydia Westman, in her Una Merkel-type manner, provokes some solid laughs with her man-chasing performance. One scene finds her telephoning Julian (Grant), telling him some interesting news, "I'm in bed!"

    LADIES SHOULD LISTEN became the second and final comedy to pair Grant and Horton of equal star status. (Horton appeared in future Grant comedies, including Columbia's HOLIDAY in 1938, and the madcap Warner Brothers comedy, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE in 1944). They had previously worked well together in the funnier KISS AND MAKE UP (1934), which consists faster pace, silly comedy climaxed by an amusing car chase. As for LADIES SHOULD LISTEN, it lacks the quicker pace KISS AND MAKE UP has, and gives the impression of being an early 1930s talkie since much of it takes takes place in Julian's boudoir. No song numbers are inserted as the earlier film, however, it does include familiar underscoring, "Falling in Love Again," a song introduced and immortalized by Marlene Dietrich in the German produced musical-drama, THE BLUE ANGEL (1930).

    With the screenplay by Claude Binyon and Frank Butler, LADIES SHOULD LISTEN should have been more amusing, and with Ernst Lubitsch in the director's chair, who had worked wonders with material such as this, it would have been, especially with Cary Grant in the lead. What's equally surprising is that this comedy is relatively short, 62 minutes. Out of circulation in the television markets for quite some time now (having been presented on New York City's WPIX, Channel 11, prior to 1972) LADIES SHOULD LISTEN, might be something to consider if it should ever be resurrected on television again. "Operator, please connect me to Turner Classic Movies programming department." One final note, star searchers, look closely for future leading actress, Ann Sheridan, appearing briefly as a fellow switchboard operator named Blanche. (**)
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    Julian de Lussac, an investor with an expiring option in Chilean mineral rights, is frolicking about with any and every beautiful woman in Paris. Unknown to Julian his current amore, Marguerite, is the scheming wife of a dangerous, scheming investor. Both are contriving to part Julian and his mineral option.

    The woman who brings him to his senses is the switchboard operator of his apartment building, Anna. Anna knows every detail of Julian's many affairs and has fallen in love with him via listening in on his phone conversations. She knows why each love affair occurred and why each ended. She also knows from her connections with other operators, just what Marguerite and her husband are up to.

    Julian is flattered by Anna's adoration, but in no way returns it. From the time that Anna's secret love is out in the open, Anna wages war against the evil couple who are trying to dupe Julian. Her weapon: the switchboard.

    A man with the morals of an alley cat just needs the right woman to show him the path to true love.
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    An overly familiar romantic comedy, the paper-thin LADIES SHOULD LISTEN is a harmless, if trivial, addition to the genre. Neither the writing or direction is sharp enough to make the material really spark or crackle, but Cary Grant displays his increasing prowess in romantic farce, and the plot line of his character being romanced by the telephone operator who repeatedly saves him through eavesdropping is serviceable if hardly superior. The basic structure (as well as the Paris backdrop) is more than casually reminiscent of Grant's previous film KISS AND MAKE UP, only not as inspired or as energetically performed by the supporting players. Still, the film provides a solid hour of agreeable, lightweight entertainment.
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    Watching Cary Grant in any movies usually means you can expect it to be enjoyable. This movie although short is fine as a funny type of movie from that era. The director of this movie is obviously following the Lubitcsh formula for comedy although not as good as Lubitcsh. You have to give the director credit however in making this short movie interesting. There was obviously budget constraints, but looking at the core supporting players, they actually do an excellent job. George Barbier plays a familiar role of a father who demands his wife is to be married. This is also the role he played however as king in "The Smiling Lieutenant" and he has that role down. What's amazing is the performance of Nydia Westman as Susie Flamberg. She plays and has dialog which is much like Claudette Colbert's role as the daughter seeking the love interest.

    In the case of The Smiling Lieutenant, Maurice Chevalier is the love interest the daughter seeks, but in this case it's Cary Grant. When watching an old copy of this movie I actually thought for a moment based on the dialog that Nydia Westman was Caudette Colbert and had to do a double take at the credits.

    These are probably formula roles for comedy by this time in the 30s, kind of a formula for haphazard comedy. Never the less, it's fun to watch and not bad. Wish I had a better sounding audio on the copy I saw. I wonder if there are even any good masters of this film available that could meet Turner's quality requirements for release. I give it a solid 7 perhaps it would rate a little better if there had been better audio.
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    This Cary Grant film is not among his better known pictures...and after seeing it, I understand why. The film is amazingly shallow and light-weight...and quite forgettable.

    When the film begins, you learn two things about Julian (Grant)-- despite looking wealthy, he is about to go belly up AND he is an idiot. Why an idiot? Because he meets a lady and knows nothing about her but instantly he declares that he's in love. Later, to get her attention he pretends to shoot himself...and at this point, I was really wishing he'd do it for real!! The film was contrived and repeatedly Julian was just an idiot...and needed a switchboard operator to save him again and again. A very poor script make this a film mostly of interest to huge Grant fans...but no one else. A big misfire.
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    I can't quite figure out why so many reviewers here don't think this is much of a film. To me, never having seen it (or, quite honestly, heard of it) before, I found it a delightful time-waster and I was surprised at just how good Cary Grant was at comedy this early in the game. The story is fluff and really doesn't make much sense, but you can say that about THE BIG SLEEP (and everyone does) while still enjoying it. Anyway, any film with Edward Everett Horton in his prime is worth seeing, and to have the two of actors together is icing on the cake. (One might want to read the great Christopher Plummer's autobiography just to learn in what awe he held Horton when acting with him in the 1950s.) Frances Drake is also delightful (although I am more used to seeing her in thrillers like MAD LOVE and THE INVISIBLE RAY) and shows a gift for comedy. But the truly inspired performance in this film, which no words can adequately describe - you really have to see it - is Nydia Westman's. She is just a delight as a cute, pliant, headstrong ditz (no other word will suffice). Again, I've never seen anything like it except maybe Marie Wilson's lovably weird secretary to Warren William in SATAN MET A LADY. The performances are not alike, they are just weirdly different from anything you could possibly expect. Watch this and you'll see what I mean. Of course, the film depends totally on the performers - as a viable screenplay it may have a lot of words but it hardly exists - and they come through. Besides, who ever went to see a Cary Grant film for the screenplay? And Westman delivers lines like little lightning bolts from another planet. I thought the whole thing delightful.
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    "Ladies Should Listen" is one of a slew of comedies that Paramount Pictures cranked out with Cary Grant in his early years. Most didn't have very much of a plot, and this is one of those. It's only slightly better than "Kiss and Make-Up." The comedy is much better, especially with dialog between Grant and Edward Everett Horton. Frances Drake's role adds a touch of fun to the film.

    Drake plays a residential telephone operator, Anna Mirelle. Grant is Julian De Lussac and Horton is Paul Vernet. The plot is disjointed and doesn't explain well how Julian gets engaged to Susie Flamberg (played by Nydia Westman). Grant is in the middle of a love quadrangle in this film.

    One of the funniest scenes is Julian's fake suicide and the follow-up. Another is Susie's tripping over luggage into Julian's arms. Their expressions and respective reactions are quite funny. This film also has a crime element. After watching the film, I realized that the title might have alluded to the spread of gossip and news via telephone operators who listen in on phone calls.

    Here are some samples of funny dialog. Julian, "Did you ever try to go through a telephone directory, page by page?" Paul, "No, but I'm reading 'Anthony Adverse.'" (The rambling 1933 historical adventure novel by Hervey Allen).

    Anna, "And she said that Marguerite Cintos (played by Rosita Moreno) was a DD." Julian, "Doctor of Divinity?" Anna, "No – definitely dangerous."

    Julian, "Wait a minute. How will I know when you get to 10?" Ramon Cintos (played by Rafael Storm), "You'll be dead."

    Julian, "Cigarette!" Paul, "Offering or asking?" Julian, "Either or both." Paul, "Well, in that case, no thank you." Julian, "You're very welcome." Paul, "Not at all." Julian, "Suppose we resume our silence where we left off?" Paul, "Why not?"

    Julian, "Your approach was wrong. You treated her with respect." Paul, "Why, of course!" Julian, "Yes, that's the trouble. You treat respectable women one way and the other kind another. Reverse your procedure and see what happens. Your popularity will surprise you." Paul, "Even with a girl like Susie?" Julian, "Please! You're speaking of my future wife."
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    Ladies Should Listen (1934)

    * 1/2 (out of 4)

    Julian De Lussac (Cary Grant) is a businessman who is going broke so he falls in love with a woman (Nydia Westman) to try and get her money. Soon she begins to lose interest so while on the phone with her he pretends to commit suicide, which sends switchboard operator Anna (Frances Drake) into his room. It turns out that Anna has been listening to all of Julian's calls and knows everything about him. Before long Julian has a third woman after film.

    LADIES SHOULD LEAVE is a pretty darn bad movie on many levels. Well, I guess I should say that it's your typical plot less "B" movie that would have been shown as the second or third feature back in the day. If you took Grant out of this picture then there really wouldn't be a reason to watch it and even with the screen legend it's hard to actually recommend this thing.

    The script is a complete mess from start to finish as nothing is ever really explained and things just seem to happen for no reason. Even worse is the fact that the film is a complete bore with only a couple laughs scattered throughout its 60-minute running time. The characters are all rather shallow and boring. Even the switchboard operator is more creepy than anything else.
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    This is my third attempt to write this review. For some reason, my index card keeps falling to the floor. Maybe the ghost of director Frank Tuttle is not impressed by my line suggesting that he was concentrating more on showing the set to advantage than his actors. All the same, I'm sure he must agree with me that Cary Grant is a bit wooden at times and that he's also inclined to indulge in too many double takes. Now, whose fault is that? It's certainly not Grant's fault, it's Tuttle's. Years later, Grant had enough clout to play a role the way he wanted to play it, but in 1934 he had little choice but to follow the director's suggestions. The movie itself starts rather poorly – no doubt to cater for latecomers, as it runs only 62 minutes and could hardly be booked as a main attraction. It's a pre-interval movie. In other words, it's the movie that many patrons came late for. Anyway, once the movie gets to Grant's apartment and the original stage play takes over, it does improve immensely. Good camera-work by Henry Sharp also helps.