Like most true Classic Hollywood Fans, we’ve been loving Forbidden Hollywood. Volume 5, however, it is not the comedic jewel we find in Volume 4. Forbidden Hollywood Volume 5 contains the darker side of humanity. The mysteries, murders, and set ups we’ve come to associate with films like Manhattan Melodrama, and Double Indemnity. In Ladies They Talk About, Barbara Stanwyck, helping out her bank robbing buddies, gets caught, and subsequently wins the heart, through some well placed tears, of our determined, powerful, and handsome hero, Preston S. Foster. The problem? She may actually be guilty and while her childhood past with our hero definitely kicks things up a notch in this pre-code film, its the classic Barbara Stanwyck style that we can’t help recognizing that makes this one to watch! True to her ‘independent woman’ scripts, Stanwyck confesses her crime to her childhood lover, only to find that he really didn’t mean all that “let bygones be bygones” talk. Too strong to wallow in self pity- she confesses her sins to the judge, and refuses to give the names of the men who talked her into the robberies in the first place. If she’s going down, she’s going down alone, 2-5 years- that’ll show him! Of course, the unconditional love our hero shows Stanwyck’s troubled soul, is endearing- even after she shoots him.The stories of the women sharing that prison are priceless, and something we didn’t really see again until the Broadway play, Chicago.
In Miss Pinkerton, Joan Blondell, acts as nurse to an ailing old woman whose son has just committed suicide or was it murder? And like all good mysteries, this one comes complete with creepy servants, locked doors, a last-minute 100k life insurance policy and a fiancée determined to prove his mother did it. Luckily newbie police detective, George Brent, is there to help our little nurse find the truth, little did he know he would need to keep her alive too. With too many people in the shadows to count, this film dons lots of screaming, silhouettes and a ridiculous amount of irrational behavior. As servants try to rationalize why there are rooms they have no access too, and aren’t allowed to go in, we can revel in the immediate chemistry between Brent and Blondell’s characters and how easy falling in love actually is, even when there may be a murderer on the loose. *sigh* Those were the days.