Ten Modern Commandments (1927)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 69 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Originally titled 10 Modern Commandments, this sophisticated romantic comedy-drama was the third directorial effort by Dorothy Arzner -- not to mention her third picture of 1927. Unabashedly a "woman's" picture, this is the story of Kitten O'Day (Esther Ralston), a humble maidservant in her aunt's boarding house. Kitten falls for impoverished boarder Tod Gilbert (Neil Hamilton), a would-be composer who has yet to sell a song. Kitten takes it upon herself to visit the office of big-time Broadway producer Disbrow (Arthur Hoyt), immediately endearing herself to the man when she socks tempestuous stage star Sharon Lee (Jocelyn Lee) in the nose. Disbrow hires Kitten as a "buffer" between himself and the troublesome Sharon; in exchange, she entreats the producer to listen to Tod's compositions. Alas, Tod has by now moved out of the boarding house, so Disbrow is unable to sign him to a contract or secure a release for the use of his songs. Meanwhile, Disbrow's latest musical goes into rehearsal, with Kitten in the chorus. The other hoofers decide to have some fun with the show-biz naif by "initiating" her in the Ten Modern Commandments of Broadway -- all of which are "Get Your Man!" Putting up with the teasing, Kitten eventually ingratiates herself with her fellow chorines by once again punching out the show's star, the obstreperous Sharon Lee (Jocelyn Lee). And what of Tod? Hanging around at the stage door, still waiting for an interview with Disbrow, Tod is hired as a backstage piano tuner. Unaware that Kitten is a member of the cast, Tod works up enough gumption to invade the star's dressing room and demand a hearing of his tunes. He is deflected from this when he hears one of his compositions being played backstage -- a minor event which snowballs into a series of misunderstandings, culminating with Tod's mistaken belief that Kitten has succumbed to the Ten Modern Commandments and has become producer Disbrow's mistress. Kitten saves the day by strong-arming Sharon into performing Tod's songs in the show; by film's end, all is explained, all is forgiven, and everyone is happy.

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Keywords

aunt, backstage, boarding-house, composer, maid, misunderstanding, producer [showbiz], Broadway