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Should Ladies Behave?

(1933 b 88')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on a play by Paul Osborn, a daughter looks for experience with an older man, competing for his affection with her mother and aunt.

At a play Geoffrey Cole (William Janney) tells 19-year-old Leone Merrick (Mary Carlisle) he wants to marry her, but she needs more experience. Leone meets her Aunt Winnie (Katharine Alexander) with painter Max Lawrence (Conway Tearle), leaving Geof behind. Winnie suggests she and Max meet at her sister Laura's house in the country. Agustus Merrick (Lionel Barrymore) calls Winnie a bigamist, because she has had three husbands. Laura Merrick (Alice Brady) tells Winnie that Max was her sweetheart, and he promised to claim her when he became a famous musician. Laura doesn't recognize Max, and Agustus asks him to leave when he learns he lied about knowing Winnie. Leone persuades Max to stay, says she is lonely, and asks him to kiss her. Max says he loves her and wants to marry her. Max tells Laura he has been swept off his feet and invites her and Leone to visit him. Laura, mistaking his intentions, insists they go away without Leone. Agustus tells Laura to talk to Leone so she won't be foolish with the lady-killer. Agustus goes to Laura's bed; she says Max wants to marry her. He warns his daughter about an older man, as he is with her mother.

In the morning Laura asks Max to sketch her again. Geof arrives black with coal, and they play twenty questions with him. Laura chatters, and Agustus quarrels with her about the game. Geof tells Laura he wants to marry Leone and regrets the theory he put in her head. Leone announces she is going to marry Max, and Laura calls it incest. Winnie goes to Max's room. He says he's changed, finding purity and youth; but she predicts a bad future for him. Agustus tells Geof there is no sophisticated woman and urges him to assert himself. Agustus asks Laura to tell Leone how unhappy they have been. Laura tells her daughter love is most important and says Max was her lover. Geof pleads with Leone and falls trying to climb onto her balcony. Leone gets dressed and sneaks out with Max, running into Agustus, Laura, and Winnie and finding Geof lying outside. Geof is playing possum, and Max tells Laura he only remembers her as a casual acquaintance. Max realizes Leone loves Geof and leaves with Winnie. Agustus, after having repeated he never apologizes, apologizes to Laura. He remembers that Laura was in love with a pianist named Lawrence Mack.

This comedy explores various ironic situations as Laura tries to revive a misremembered lost love; Leone looks for experience; Max takes love where he finds it; Winnie tries to hold onto a man; and Agustus prevents his daughter from making a mistake by getting Geof on the ball.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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