Ladies They Talk About

Watch Ladies They Talk About

"She's BRAZEN!"
  • NR
  • 1933
  • 1 hr 9 min
  • 6.6  (1,804)

Ladies They Talk About is a classic American pre-Code crime drama and a feminist tale from 1933. Directed by Howard Bretherton and William Keighley, this film has been remade thrice, but the original remains a masterpiece in its own right. The movie opens in a federal prison for women in California, where notorious bank robber and gun moll Nan Taylor (Barbara Stanwyck) is being held for ten years. However, Taylor is resourceful and cunning, and has earned the respect of both the inmates and the guards for her brains and bravery. She even manages to impress the benevolent chaplain (Preston Foster) who visits the prison, and who is sympathetic to her plight - she was merely trying to support her impoverished family by joining a gang.

However, Taylor is also a sharp-tongued and impudent girl who enjoys getting into trouble and making enemies, both inside and outside prison. Hence, when a new warden, Elvira Powell (Lillian Roth), takes charge of the institution, Taylor sees red. Powell is a puritanical and vain woman who wants to exert complete control over the prison, and who sees Taylor as a threat to her authority. Taylor retaliates by organizing a strike and refusing to cooperate with any aspect of Powell's regime, which results in her being placed in solitary confinement.

While in solitary, Taylor reflects on her past and her future, and decides to use her wits to bargain with the warden. She agrees to help the authorities catch her former lover, Jim 'Spider' Welsh (Lyle Talbot), who has escaped from prison and is planning a new heist. Welsh is a suave and slippery character, who is wooing Sally Doyle (Dorothy Burgess), a vulnerable and naive lawyer who is also an old friend of Taylor's. Taylor knows that Sally is in love with Welsh and that she won't betray him to the cops, so she offers to go undercover as a witness and lure Welsh into a trap.

Powell agrees to this deal, but with trepidation. She also assigns a detective, McBride (Ralph Ince), to accompany Taylor and to make sure she stays out of trouble. Weber (Ruth Donnelly), a tough and funny matron, is also sent along to keep an eye on the duo. The three women take a train to San Francisco and check into a plush hotel, while McBride arranges a secret meeting with Welsh at a speakeasy. However, things soon go awry when Sally shows up unexpectedly and starts asking questions, and when Welsh realizes that Taylor may have double-crossed him.

The rest of the movie is a tense and exciting game of cat-and-mouse between all the characters, as alliances shift, motives clash, and bullets fly. Stanwyck is superb in her role as a fierce and feisty femme fatale who knows how to play all sides and stay one step ahead of danger. Foster is equally good as a kind and compassionate idealist who sees the good in everyone, including Taylor. Talbot is suavely sinister as the charming crook who never gives up, while Burgess is touching as the fragile girl who is torn between loyalty and love. Roth is a bit hammy as the severe and unsympathetic warden, but her role is a necessary foil to Stanwyck's rebellious spirit. Donnelly provides comic relief with her wisecracks and practicality, while Ince is the archetypical tough-guy cop who shuns emotions in favor of duty.

The film is notable for its frank and upfront portrayal of women in prison, as well as for its feminist subtext. Taylor is not just a stooge or a moll, but a person with feelings, dreams, and ambitions. She wants to live life on her own terms, and she is willing to pay for her mistakes. She is also capable of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice, and she takes responsibility for her actions, even if it means risking her life. The film also shows how women can bond and support each other, and how they can outsmart men if given the chance.

The movie also benefits from a fast-paced script, sharp dialogue, and atmospheric cinematography. The scenes in the prison are well-staged and realistic, and the scenes in San Francisco are glamorous and gritty at the same time. The action scenes are dynamic and suspenseful, and the romance scenes are poignant and fleeting. The movie also manages to convey a sense of social and political unrest, as the Great Depression and Prohibition are evident in the background.

Overall, Ladies They Talk About is a classic Hollywood crime drama with a heart, a brain, and a soul. It showcases some of the best performances of Barbara Stanwyck and Preston Foster, and it explores some important themes of gender, power, and justice. It is a must-see for fans of film noir, gangster movies, and feminist cinema.

Ladies They Talk About is a 1933 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.

Ladies They Talk About
Where to Watch Ladies They Talk About
Ladies They Talk About is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Ladies They Talk About for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 9 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (1,804)