Cast & Crew
Patsy Patterson, a drunken old woman, is arrested for taking part in a barroom brawl. While Patsy is waiting for her hearing, Judge Daly gives a suspended sentence to a fan dancer, Miss Alabam Lee, who is also known as Georgia. Patsy is sent to an old age home. Alabam's publicist, Front O'Malley, suggests that Alabam adopt Patsy as a publicity stunt. Alabam takes Patsy home with her, and taking her duties as Alabam's adopted mother seriously, Patsy soon discovers that O'Malley and Kandall, Alabam's accountant, are swindling her. Patsy sneaks out and wins $7,000 gambling, which she tells Alabam was a bequest from a relative. She then proves to Alabam that O'Malley and Kandall are crooks and takes over as her manager. Patsy uses her money to give Alabam dance, singing and elocution lessons and then has her audition with theatrical producer David Opper. When Alabam fares poorly at the audition, she returns home dejected and realizing she is broke, makes a play for Patsy's friend, attorney Johnny Mills. Johnny's father, who was in love with Patsy, asked Johnny to take care of her after his death. When Patsy sees that Alabam is after Johnny for his money, the two women quarrel. Johnny proposes to Alabam, but explains that because of his mother's opposition, he will be penniless if they marry. Judge Daly threatens to revoke Alabam's sentence if she marries Johnny and tells her of the harm her bad reputation will do to him. Defeated, Alabam returns to Kandall to join his latest revue and breaks her engagement to Johnny. When Patsy realizes that Alabam truly loves Johnny, she asks Daly to raid Kandall's nightclub. Alabam once again faces prison, but Daly gives her a choice: prison or marriage to Johnny, and the two lovers are reunited.
John T. Doyle
Fred "snowflake" Toones
Hector V. Sarno
Harry C. Bradley
Christian J. Frank
O. G. "dutch" Hendrian
A. R. Haysel
Lucille De Never
Adele Cutler Jerome
William E. "babe" Lawrence
Arthur Stuart Hull
Lady By Choice - Lady by Choice
1934 was a good year for May Robson. She had just starred in Frank Capra's Lady for a Day (1933) for which she had earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In that film she plays "Apple Annie," a down and out apple seller who is helped by gangsters to appear as a grand lady to fool her daughter who she hasn't seen in years. Although she lost out to Katharine Hepburn for Morning Glory, Columbia Studios liked Robson and the character enough to stretch it out into another film, this time, instead of being Apple Annie, she was called Patsy Patterson.
1934 was also a good year for Carole Lombard's career. After years of playing decorative roles that gave her little to do but look beautiful and wear gorgeous clothes, she was finally given the opportunity to show her comedic side in Columbia's Twentieth Century. Lombard stunned audiences and critics alike who didn't think she had it in her, although in her personal life she was an extremely funny woman and had learned comedy while a teenager at the Mack Sennett Studios. Twentieth Century changed her career for the better and while still on loan-out to Columbia from her home studio Paramount, she was given another opportunity at a comedy in Lady by Choice (1934). The film had originally been titled Hello, Big Boy but renamed to capitalize on Lady for A Day . Lombard's character was called Alabam' Lee, (supposedly based on nightclub owner Texas Guinan and fan-dancer Sally Rand) who is convicted on a morals charge. Her agent hires Patsy Patterson from an old ladies' home to pose as Alabam's mother to give her a more wholesome image.
While Lady by Choice didn't have Frank Capra directing, it was still well received by the critics. The New York Times review on November 17, 1934 was complimentary, "Having looked backward into its comparatively recent past and having discovered, probably without too much research, that a film called Lady for a Day did well indeed at the box office last season, Columbia Pictures decided to produce another constructed along somewhat similar lines. The picture, Lady by Choice had its first local showing yesterday at the RKO Palace. Ordinarily these copies are sad affairs, lacking in the very qualities that made for the success of the original. It is a pleasant surprise, then, to be able to report that Lady by Choice is an exception. It is a well-rounded story, enacted by a tried and true cast, directed with sureness by David Burton and spiced with Jo Swerling's natural, robust and clever dialogue. ...For box-office reasons Miss Lombard's name heads the cast, but no one in the audience will be fooled. Lady by Choice is Miss Robson's picture. She made it what it is today."
Producer: Robert North
Director: David Burton
Screenplay: Jo Swerling, Dwight Taylor (story)
Cinematography: Ted Tetzlaff
Film Editing: Viola Lawrence
Music: Louis Silvers
Cast: Carole Lombard ('Alabam' Georgia Lee), May Robson (Patsy Patterson), Roger Pryor (Johnny Mills), Walter Connolly (Judge Daly), Arthur Hohl (Kendall), Raymond Walburn (Front O'Malley).
by Lorraine LoBianco
Lady By Choice - Lady by Choice
Working titles for the film were Orchids and Onions and Part Time Lady.