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Platinum Blonde

(1931 b 89')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Frank Capra directed this story of a mismatched marriage between a reporter and a rich society woman.

His newspaper editor sends Stew (Robert Williams) out to the wealthy Schuyler House to cover a breach-of-promise lawsuit against Michael Schuyler. Their attorney (Reginald Owen) gives the Tribune reporter Binjy $50 to say nothing about the story; but Stew finds out they settled for $10,000 and still don't have the love letters. He refuses the $50, and Ann Schuyler (Jean Harlow) asks him not to print the story. Stew calls in the story right in front of them. Stew calls on Ann again and shows her the love letters. She starts to right him a check for $5,000, but he refuses it, giving her the letters. They have lunch together until her mother asks him to leave.

After a month of romance, the Tribune breaks the story they eloped. Stew's editor complains he missed the scoop; he calls Stew a "bird in a gilded cage," and Stew's friend Gallagher (Loretta Young) seems to agree. Stew expects Ann to live in his apartment; but she has him live with her in the left wing of the Schuyler mansion and hires him a valet. Stew dismisses him, but Ann insists on his wearing garters. The Schuylers have a big party for the Spanish ambassador, and Gallagher attends as a society reporter. Ann jealously snubs her, and Stew apologizes to Gallagher. Binjy offers Stew a job with the Tribune writing a column as Ann Schuyler's husband, and Stew punches him in the face. This is reported in headlines as the Cinderella boy who wants to wear the pants. The mother and her lawyer complain, but Ann defends her husband. Bored with dressy engagements, Stew refuses to go out with society people; Ann does not want to meet his friends.

Stew gets bored and talks with the butler Smyth about puttering. Stew calls Gallagher to come over with a chaperone friend, and she arrives with a large crowd that parties wildly. Ann, her mother, and the lawyer come home to find Smyth drunk and the house in shambles. Ann walks in on Stew and Gallagher as they are working on his play about a poor man who marries a rich woman. When Ann complains, Stew asks why he can't invite friends to his house. Ann says it is not his house, and he packs to move back into his apartment. Gallagher suggests this declaration of independence for the second-act curtain. The lawyer comes to his apartment with an offer of alimony, which the independent Stew refuses; then he hits the lawyer in the face. Stew and Gallagher now have the third act in which he asks his old girlfriend to marry him after the divorce, and she agrees.

This story contrasts an independent and creative writer and his wild friends with a stuffy society family; Stew shows flair, though his resort to slugging people is deplorable.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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