Kiki (1931)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Previously filmed in 1926 with Norma Talmadge, the creaky David Belasco stage piece Kiki served as a curious talkie vehicle for "America's Sweetheart" Mary Pickford. The star plays the title character, a jazz-age Parisian chorus girl (complete with a molasses-thick French accent). When theatrical impresario Victor Randall (Reginald Denny) falls in love with Kiki, he sets the girl up in a fancy apartment, which does not rest well with Randall's ex-wife. Likewise unhappy with the situation is Kiki, whose restless spirit cannot be confined by her posh surroundings nor her possessive lover. In the film's most famous scene, the heroine, in white-tie-and-tails male drag, performs a Busby Berkeley-choreographed musical number with a group of male dancers, culminating in an unceremonious tumble into the orchestra pit. Though Mary Pickford delivered her best talkie performance to date, the actress's longtime fans didn't respond to her straying so far from her established screen image, and as a result Kiki was the first of Pickford's United Artists productions to flop at the box office.

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Keywords

divorce, love, producer [showbiz], romance