Smart Woman (1931)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 12, 1931 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 68 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A pre-Code number, Smart Woman is more sophisticated than racy, but the situations it depicts are ones that would be difficult to film in the post-Code era. Modern audiences will undoubtedly find the moral of Woman -- that a woman should as a matter of course be willing to forgive a husband's philandering ways -- a bit hard to swallow, and the drama gets quite a bit soapy in places. Salisbury Field's screenplay doesn't delve deeply enough into its situations or characters, but it does provide a few choice rejoinders and bits of dialogue scattered throughout. Gregory la Cava's direction is smooth, but too superficial and at times too manipulative. However, La Cava is blessed to be working with a mostly first rate cast. The exception is Robert Ames as the husband, who is bland and unappealing. However, Mary Astor is a wow as the husband. She's a knockout lookswise, and this fine actress turns in a first class performance that really anchors the film. Edward Everett Horton dithers charmingly, as is his wont, and Noel Francis is fun as the gold digger. John Halliday is winning as the rich man in the middle.