The Gorgeous Hussy, 1936

Here is a review I wrote for Amazon and the IMDB.

It’s a story about Washington D.C. It’s about dirty tricks, sleazy operatives, scurrilous personal attacks and lies. The 2012 presidential campaign? No, “The Gorgeous Hussy.”

Many people have noted that “The Gorgeous Hussy” is not historically accurate. This is true and at the beginning of the picture they call it “fiction”-drawn from real characters, but definitely fiction. What did you expect? It’s MGM in 1936. There is a huge budget, lavish production values, beautiful costumes (male and female), top-notch acting and, of course, romance.

The story centers around Peggy O’Neill, Joan Crawford, an innkeeper’s daughter called “Pothouse Peg,” for her politics and her men. The men are a list of Metro’s best—Robert Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Franchot Tone, Melvyn Douglas and Lionel Barrymore. Robert Taylor dominates the first quarter of the picture with his enormous energy, his playfulness, his rapport with Crawford and his skin-tight costume. Taylor even sings and dances.

Jimmy Stewart, Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor

After Bow Timberlake’s (Taylor’s) heroic off screen death, things settle down. Andrew Jackson (Barrymore) dominates every scene he’s in. Beulah Bondi, as Rachel Jackson, is equally good. She won an Oscar nomination for her role.

Joan Crawford is usually criticized for appearing in an historical picture because she was too “modern.” Here she handles her costumes beautifully, using her skirts to express a range of emotions. While her acting is fine, she is overwhelmed by the male contingent.

Franchot Tone, Crawford’s husband at the time, is quietly effective as Peg’s second husband John Eaton. Melvyn Douglas brings strength and intelligence to his role as Virginian John Randolph. Jimmy Stewart is wasted as Peg’s failed suitor.

Taylor and Crawford

“The Gorgeous Hussy” is fun, sometimes moving and a reminder that political behavior wasn’t all that different in the 1820s.

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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