Movie Mirrors Index

Sorority House

(1939 b 64')

En: 4 Ed: 5


Two freshman girls are rushed by sororities but have contrasting attitudes and results.

Alice Fisher (Anne Shirley) buys chickens for the grocery store of her father Lew Fisher (J. M. Kerrigan) and is surprised to learn he has got her into a college and has savings to send her. Alice goes to a boardinghouse and rooms with Dotty Spencer (Barbara Read) and Merle Scott (Adele Pearce). Dotty says that Alice is a date-getter and could join a sorority, but Dotty says she lacks the money and the looks. Merle hopes to join. Alice gets her dress ripped off on the fire escape and meets Bill Loomis (James Ellison), the boy-friend of Neva Simpson (Doris Jordan). During her physical exam Bill makes Alice's blood pressure go up as he asks her for a date. Young men serenade the boardinghouse, and Alice is sent out with the gifts of appreciation. Bill asks her to talk with him. Alice says she likes college for its culture, and they both value the poetry of Shelley.

In the Gamma sorority Neva says she does not like Merle. Bill calls to recommend Alice, saying she is wealthy but pretends not to be; he also calls the Chi house. Merle's aunt Mrs. Scott (Elisabeth Risdon) tries to help Merle. Alice writes to her father that she will not join a sorority, because it costs $100 plus dues. Lew arranges to sell his store to a chain. Alice dances with Bill, and Neva sees them go outside. Bill tells Alice that he loves her, and they kiss. Mrs. Scott asks Merle why she was not invited to the Gamma party and leaves in disgust. Alice gets a pin that Dotty says means engagement. Neva sees it. Lew arrives at the party to see Alice; but she sends him to the boardinghouse, because Gamma sisters think her father is rich. Lew learns it is a parents party. Alice runs out but finds Lew left her money for the sorority. She runs after his car and says she is sorry. Lew declines to go to the party. At midnight Merle does not get a bid and cries. Lew stops Merle from harming herself and encourages her. Bill apologizes to Alice for starting talk about her family's money. Alice decides not to join the Gamma sorority and rips up her bid.

Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay for this hard look at the values of the sorority system that classifies students at college socially with often serious consequences for those who are rejected.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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