- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Stanwyck, Roth and Others Shine
- Vance Wilson
To quote an earlier user's review of this film here, "I love all of Barbara Stanwyck's work". The films made before 1934 or so tend to have a lot of jazzy background music that detracts from the modern day viewer's experience. I, for one find it distracting; thus only the best of the early talkies are on my fan list. Along with "Babyface" this film has sufficient dialog, scripting and most of all performance power to be included. Stanwyck is hilarious as she delivers lines like "being penned up with a a daffodil like you comes awful close' in response to a fellow prison (jealous) inmate's announcement that 'no punishment is bad enough for you!' The line is uttered by Stanwyck in a casual, flip way as she slowly stalks around the "main room" of the women's prison in which she has just been incarcerated, and the room full of ladies erupts with laughter as the other inmates realize that Barb is a cookie to be reckoned with and maybe an okay sister too. Its a great moment. Equally impressive is Lillian Roth's performance as a fellow inmate who befriends Stanwyck. Ms. Roth is incandescent in her scenes and very likable. She sings a short but excellent and catchy little number and is also very funny. Roth effortlessly upstages Stanwyck in their scenes together simply by virtue of her screen presence and that is saying a lot given Ms. Stanwyck's legendary career. One wonders how Roth's career would have played out were it not for her personal problems with addiction. Favorite line: Roth to Stanwyck while introducing a fellow inmate who had been a wealthy society matron "She was jealous of a certain Mrs. Banks and so she gave a party in her honor and then ground up some of her very best glassware and put it in Mrs. Bank's caviar - oh dear" That "oh dear" is spoken in a phony 'high toned' accent that is priceless!
Hear Lillian Roth Sing
Good movie. You're entertained throughout, even while noticing some pretty improbable plot elements. Of course, Stanwyck is terrific, but the special treat for me is Lillian Roth's performance. I had heard her sing in The Love Parade, but in this movie she gets a better number to sing. Boy, she was a real singing talent.
Stanwyck Behind Bars
- Bruce Reber
"Ladies They Talk About" (1933 Warner Bros.) is a tough, solid early women's prison drama. Barbara Stanwyck gives a powerful perfomance early in her career as Nan, who becomes the ringleader of a gang of rough lady convicts. She falls in love with a get-tough-on-criminals evangelist, she asks for his help in getting out of jail, and when he turns her down she swears she'll get even with him. At the end she tries to kill him, but she realizes her mistake and they end up engaged to be married. Also some faint lesbian overtones (one of the convicts is jealous of her realtionship with the evangelist). LTTA somewhat resembles another great women's prison film "Caged", made at WB 17 years later. I've seen LTTA several times on TCM, and would like to see it on DVD, either as part of a Barbara Stanwyck, Forbidden Hollywood or Women Behind Bars collection. I hope it will be in one of the next Warner Archives releases. I'm putting in my vote to get LTTA on DVD right now!
I Liked It
I love all Barbara Stanwyck's work.
Stanwyck makes this mediocre prison drama
Barbara Stanwyck, appearing early in her career, chews up the scenery as a tough-talking criminal who is sent to prison for a bank robbery. Preston Foster plays the evangelist who falls in love with Stanwyck. The story is slightly flacid, but Stanwyck is great, as is the supporting cast of jail mates. The story picks up steam as the domestic drama of jail life is shown, but comes to a thud with a quick, undeveloped ending.
Ladies They Talk About (1933)
- James Higgins
Barbara Stanwyck sizzles in the film from the earlier part of her career. Snappy dialogue, excellent pace, good supporting cast. Stanwyck makes it all worthwhile with her savvy characterization.