Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Skyscraper Souls (1932) Film Review - Warren William

Plot Summary - Precode starring Warren William as unscrupulous banker David Dwight, builder of a hundred-story NYC skyscraper that now houses his bank, Seacoast National, and all sorts of other businesses. The building is sort of a little world all it's own - crowded with people all bumping into each other, busy elevators, a drug store, newsstand, restaurant, sauna and pool. Dwight even keeps an apartment in the building where he can lure young women from office to bedroom with nary a walk. He hopes to "own" the building outright, and while he's into shady mergers and big business deals, all in the name of a 30 million loan he can't pay, the story focuses around several characters who have jobs in the building. Pretty young secretary Lynn (Maureen O'Sullivan) is aggressively being pursued by brash, clumsy (running gag is him knocking stuff down) bank teller Tom Shepherd (Norman Foster) who won't take no for an answer. Yeah, another of those filmland romances that start with a woman who hates the guy who chases and chases 'til he gets her. Dwight, though married, is currently in a long-time affair with his female assistant/Lynn's boss - but that doesn't stop him from chasing Lynn, making her stay late to type up some report, then sending her to a party at his apartment upstairs where he doses her with oodles of champagne and she ends up (much to his delight) passed out cold in his bed. Lynn is torn between $50 a week Tom who offers to "marry" her and the older, much wealthier Dwight who offers to "keep" her.

Review - The movie is very entertaining and loads of fun to watch. It includes lots of pre-code elements like wisecracking career girls, and young women stripping down to their lace undergarments. Anita Page appears in a small part as a loose woman/"model" ("clothes get you further than brains", she advises pal Lynn). Warren William is magnificent as usual - one of my favorite classic film actors these days. I'm pretty sure that most people I know (except for big film buff types) have never heard of him, but I try not to miss one of his films when it shows up. I enjoyed the champagne scene - Maureen O'Sullivan makes a cute drunk. Rating - 9/10 stars

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