Career Woman


1h 10m 1936

Brief Synopsis

A girl (Jewell) accused of killing her father is defended unsuccessfully by a flashy lawyer (Whalen) and successfully by a new, straightforward one (Trevor).

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 18, 1936
Premiere Information
Brooklyn opening: 3 Dec 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,869ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Carroll Aiken is among the many female law students who crowd the murder trial of Fifi Brown to watch defense attorney Barry Conant, called the man of 1,000 surprises. After entering in a wheelchair and purporting to defend Fifi despite a doctor's warning that it might cost him his life, Conant convinces the male jury, already attentive to Fifi's shapely legs, that she could not have killed her husband by having her bite a chunk of cheese and then showing that her teeth marks do not match those on a plaster cast of the dead man's arm. Attracted to Carroll, Conant faints in her arms after the trial, compelling her to accompany him to his apartment. Carroll, who is to take her bar exam in the next week, refuses Conant's proposition to go with him first to Hot Springs and then to Europe. Conant attends the commencement dance at Carroll's school and dances with her. Carroll, who comes from a long line of lawyers, including one ancestor who helped draft the Constitution and another who served on the Supreme Court, asserts that the law is above cheap tricks. Conant, whose family from Ireland included an ancestor who was hung, tells her that he decided to become a lawyer to make money. Carroll says that they have nothing in common and goes to visit her hometown of Clarkdale, which she hopes has not changed from her idealistic vision of small town simplicity and honesty. Although Conant sends flowers and telegrams, she ignores him. The gossiping people of Clarkdale, however, resent Carroll's decision to become a lawyer. They are cold to her except for her uncle Will and Gracie Clay, an extemely shy teenager whose religious father Matt has kept her from boys since his wife died and who has beaten Gracie at times. After Carroll gives Gracie a flashy dress that Gracie desires, Matt catches her at an outing with Everett Clark, the milquetoast son of the town's pompous prosecuting attorney, Milt Clark. Thinking that she got the dress from Everett, Matt takes Gracie home. During a rain storm, Matt whips Gracie in a barn and threatens to tell Everett's mother. While Bede Sanders, whom Gracie earlier rejected, watches through a window, Gracie, horrified at Matt's threat, hits her father with a club, and he falls over a railing to his death. Carroll represents Gracie, who refuses to name Everett, and her fears that the Clarkdale people do not like women lawyers prove to be well-founded when the judge continually refuses her objections and countenances tricks of prosecuting attorney Clark. Arriving from Hot Springs, Conant teams up with Carroll and, after trying to discredit Bede and other witnesses, invites city reporters and photographers to publicize the case and ridicule Clarkdale. After Clark berates Carroll, Conant accuses the people of Clarkdale of being intolerant bigots, and he is put into jail. When he reveals to Carroll that he provoked the community to get the story in the newspaper and thus help his career, she is digusted. After Conant is taken from the jail by his cohorts in masks and reportedly beaten by angry townspeople, Carroll, realizing the ruse, sides with the people of her community and pleads with them to look at the facts of the case. When she appeals to the boy in the case to come forward, Everett, no longer afraid of his father, acknowledges that he loves Gracie. The jury acquits Gracie, and Carroll and Conant are reconciled after he explains that he provoked the townspeople, hoping that she would disassociate herself from him so that the town would accept her.

Cast

Claire Trevor

Carroll Aiken

Michael Whalen

Barry Conant

Isabel Jewell

Gracie Clay

Eric Linden

Everett Clark

Virginia Field

Fifi Brown

Gene Lockhart

Uncle Billy Burley

Edward S. Brophy

Doc Curley

El Brendel

Chris Ericson

Guinn Williams

Bode [i.e Bede] Sanders

Sterling Holloway

George Rogers [i.e. Jackson]

Charles Middleton

Matt Clay

Charles Waldron Sr.

Milt Clark

Paul Stanton

Arthur Henshaw

Kathleen Lockhart

Mrs. Milt Clark

Frank Mcglynn Sr.

Sheriff Duncan

June Storey

Edith Clark

Lynne Berkeley

Helen Clark

Ray Brown

Judge Hite

George Meeker

Mr. Smith

Howard Hickman

Judge Whitman

Spencer Charters

Coroner McInery

Erville Alderson

Dr. Anderson

Eily Malyon

Miss Brinkerhoff

Otto Hoffman

Frank Jackson

Edward Le Saint

Jury foreman

Emmett Vogan

Court clerk--Clarkdale

Tom London

Bailiff--Clarkdale

Mike Pat Donovan

Court officer--Clarkdale

William Marion

Attorney--Clarkdale

William Norton Bailey

Attorney--Clarkdale

King Mojave

Reporter--Clarkdale

Babe Green

Reporter--Clarkdale

Oliver Cross

Reporter--Clarkdale

Bert Moorhouse

Reporter--Clarkdale

Franklin Parker

Reporter--Clarkdale

Max Wagner

Reporter--Clarkdale

Heinie Conklin

Constable--Clarkdale

Katherine Block

Woman in court--Clarkdale

Almeda Fowler

Woman in court--Clarkdale

Bill Brown

Man in court--Clarkdale

Leon Brace

Police officer--Clarkdale

Tina Marshall

Maid

Georgia Caine

Bridge player

Claudia Coleman

Bridge player

Margaret Armstrong

Mrs. Hite

Myra Marsh

Housewife

Cecil Weston

Housewife

Mary Alden

Housewife

Edward Laurence

Man at picnic

Lillian Laurence

Woman at picnic

Lee Shumway

Townsman

Edward Peil Sr.

Townsman

George Guhl

Townsman

Earl Dwyer

Townsman

Edward Earle

Minister

Don Brody

Reporter

Louis Bacigalupi

Wrestler

June Gittleson

Girl with horn-rimmed glasses

Oscar Apfel

Medical examiner

Richard Powell

Court officer--New York

Nora Cecil

Witness--New York

Joseph Allen Jr.

Law student--New York

Sherry Hall

Court clerk--New York

Bud Wiser

Bailiff--New York

Carey Harrison

Bailiff--New York

Lew Hicks

Police officer--New York

David Newell

Reporter--New York

Tom Murray

Reporter--New York

Bill Dill

Reporter--New York

Gary Breckner

Radio announcer

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 18, 1936
Premiere Information
Brooklyn opening: 3 Dec 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,869ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Actress Eily Malyon's name is spelled "Ely Malyon" in the onscreen credits. According to Daily Variety, this was Milton H. Feld's first film as an associate producer under Sol M. Wurtzel. Reviews note that the case in the film was based on a recent trial in West Virginia of a mountain girl for the shooting death of her father while she was defending herself from a brutal beating over an innocent rendezvous with a boy. According to Daily Variety, the film was shooting for a week until Michael Whalen was chosen as the male lead. Victor Kilian is listed as a cast member in Hollywood Reporter production charts, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed.