Big Town Girl


1h 8m 1937

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 3, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Film Length
6,474ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Convicted bank robber Jim Mead escapes from a detective taking him on a train to a state penitentiary in the Midwest to begin a twenty-year sentence. Mead locates his wife, a nightclub singer who goes by the name of Peggy Melville, and at gunpoint, orders her to go with him to South America. She escapes from him to another town, where she gets work at a department store under the name Fay Loring. When Larry Edwards, a self-described "publicity expert," hears Fay sing for a patron at the music counter, he suggests that he can make her into a star. Because of his interference with her work, she loses her job, whereupon she agrees to his scheme so that she can make needed money, but suggests that she perform wearing a mask because of her fear that Mead may find out about her. Soon Larry introduces her at Saratoga, Newport and New York as "The Masked Countess Loree." Speaking with a French accent, Fay fails to convince reporter Mark Tracy that she is a real countess, and when he insults her at her expensive hotel in New York, she pushes him down and hits him over the head with a vase of flowers. The incident makes the newspaper headlines of all but Mark's paper, and his irate editor threatens to fire him if he does not get a story on her. Larry awakens the interest of the Federal Broadcasting Company in Fay, and they sign her to a contract. Mark comes to her room to try to see her without her mask, but Fay quickly applies a mud pack to her face. Her maid Scarlet then spies Mark's photographer hidden in a linen truck and sprays him with an insect gun, thus ruining Mark's plan to get a picture of the countess's face. Meanwhile, Mead sees a picture of the countess in the newspaper and realizes that she is his wife from the ring on her finger. He goes to her studio, but a police inspector there for a broadcast recognizes him, and Mead runs out. Having seen Mead, Fay tells Larry that she must leave, but when they return to the hotel, they find Mark with his cohort Bill, whom he introduces as a Department of Immigration official. When Bill demands to see the countess's passport, Fay goes into her bedroom, supposedly to get it, and she escapes into her car. Mark follows her into the country, and after she crashes into a tree to avoid hitting some cows, she walks to a gas station, where she waits for a bus. When Mark comes to the station, the attendant asks if he will give a ride to the "big town girl" waiting inside. Not recognizing Fay without her mask, Mark agrees. In a rainstorm, Mark's car gets stuck in mud, and he carries Fay, who is starting to fall for him, to a nearby house. They awaken Isaiah Wickenback, a justice of the peace, who wants to marry them for two dollars. They refuse the offer, but the idea is alive in their conversation after Isaiah leaves them alone. Mead, who has robbed a nearby bank, gets stuck in the mud as he tries to get around Mark's car. When he finds Fay with Mark, he accuses her of running out on him. Fay says that Mark means nothing to her, but when Mead points his gun at Mark, she blocks it. To protect Fay, Mark takes the blame for "stealing" her. The cops then arrive, and after a shootout, Mead tries to shoot Mark, but finds he has run out of bullets. After Mark chases him out the window and fights him, Mead knocks Mark out with his gun, but the police then shoot Mead. Mark makes the headlines with his story, and the "Countess" sends for him and says that she now wants to give him her life story. She tries to kiss him, but he avoids her flirtations, which delights Fay. After she takes off her mask and wig and announces that she has made her last broadcast, they plan to return to the justice of the peace and take him up on his offer.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 3, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Film Length
6,474ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

End credits were missing from the print viewed. While Lucien Andriot received screen credit for photography on this film, John Mescall is credited in Hollywood Reporter production charts. It is not known whether the listing for Mescall is an error or if he was involved in the film's production. The song "Argentine Swing" was originally written for Twentieth Century-Fox's 1936 film Star for a Night (see below), which also starred Claire Trevor, but it was cut from that film. Box Office commented that this was "another picture in evidence of the fact that the average so-called 'B' production from the Fox lot outranks in entertainment and box office appeal many more elaborate and higher cost offerings."