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She Had to Say Yes

She Had to Say Yes(1933)

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  • Very Relevant for Today *spoiler alert

    • Jamie Langston
    • 10/26/17

    I recalled seeing this movie last year on TCM after sexual harassment of women in the workplace, Hollywood specifically, made headlines recently. In my view, the heroine is not morally ambiguous but rather the men are. As a chaste employee about to be engaged, her intended sees her as virginal wife material. After she submits to demands to entertain clients, intended to further his career so they can afford to get married, she attempts to be only a dinner and dancing companion. She plays along managing to avoid sex but still get her intended his raise. But as soon as her intended believes she has had sex, she is no longer wife material but he wants in on what he assumes is her indiscriminate sexual availability. This is the classic Madonna-whore syndrome. She is the same, though disillusioned by her experience with aggressive men, but his perception of her has changed. His perception limits her options in life. She calls him on his behavior and he offers to marry her. "She has to say yes" because her other option is to go back to work and become a corporate prostitute. Her identity and fate are still dependent on a man. An underwhelming start to a marriage.As entertainment, this early film demonstrates Loretta's early ability to portray a passive character yet still hold her own in front of the camera. It is an engaging film with plausible dialogue that pulls back the curtain on real world abuse of women in the workplace. This topic of social commentary was abandoned when censorship began a few years later. More recent films have mired the topic in layers of Pollyanna-esque romanticism and by portraying men being harassed by women. While that does occur, it is not the pervasive subjugation experienced by women- the primary message of this film. This film exposes the issue with brutal clarity. It is as relevant to today's social discussion as when it was released.

  • Complex portrayal of women's sex role in '30s.

    • Tony Patti
    • 1/8/10

    A secretary pleases her boss/fiancee by dating prospective buyers for his company. Young is morally ambiguous throughout, with a complicated battle between being pimped out and being assaulted while trying to maintain her self-respect. Scandalous and thought-provoking. There are some laugh-out-loud lines if you pay attention, but it's horrifying how often Young is assaulted in this movie.

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