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New York girl has a dull boyfriend and seems destined for a dull marriage when she meets a rich playboy who has money to burn and places to go. She gets involved with the playboy and never seems to notice that he might by shady, until he shoots her father in a cigar-store holdup!Written by
Bubbly blonde Alice White (as Sheba Miller) enjoys an evening out at "The Pirates Den", an expensive nightclub. Her boyfriend William Bakewell (as Jack), a soda jerk making only $35 per week, thinks the place is out of their price range and wants to leave. On the way out, Ms. White enters the club's "pageant of the knees" contest and is judged by suave Chester Morris (as Nickey Solomon) to have the prettiest legs. Named "Queen of the Den," White sings "You Learn About Love Every Day" and arouses Mr. Morris. His friends advise White is a "no," but Morris considers her a possibility. White loves her childhood sweetheart, but is drawn to Morris' fancy lifestyle. White doesn't know it, but Morris has a secret she may not like...
This is a fairly typical plot, but the production turns out to be engaging. The popular elements of early talking pictures fall into place, with nightclub providing a natural site for musical numbers. The acrobatic blonde and other young women are an attractive diversion. Sounds of the city are natural, with Morris' car horn providing a focal point which fits neatly into the plot. The story, from writers Vina Delmar and Frances Nordstrom, is not extraordinary – however, secondary cultural characters and situations help keep it lively. The performances are theatrical, which fits the presentation as "Playing Around" is staged nicely by director Mervyn LeRoy and photographer Sol Polito; their lighting and tracking of sets a highlight.
****** Playing Around (1/19/30) Mervyn LeRoy ~ Alice White, Chester Morris, William Bakewell, Richard Carlyle
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