Ladies of Leisure (1930) - Frank Capra directed this Pre-Code romance from Columbia Pictures. Jerry Strong (Ralph Graves) is a high society scion who has grown bored with the hard-partying ways of his contemporaries. He prefers to focus on his passion for painting, and he asks Kay Arnold (Barbara Stanwyck) to be his latest model. Kay is a good-time girl who earns her living as a "companion" to high-rollers. As the two develop a growing romantic bond, Jerry's parents grow disapproving. Also featuring Lowell Sherman, Marie Prevost, Nance O'Neil, George Fawcett, Juliette Compton, Johnnie Walker, Charles Butterworth, and Willie Best.
I thought this was very good, and that Stanwyck was fantastic, and not only should have been nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress, but should have won (over Norma Shearer in The Divorcee). I've read that many people dislike Graves in the male lead, but I didn't think he was that terrible, although I think the film would be better remembered and acclaimed if Stanwyck's co-star had been someone more noteworthy. Sherman, as a tipsy party regular, and Prevost, as Stanwyck's roommate and fellow party girl, are wonderful, and perfect examples of great supporting performances. Capra's camera is also very mobile, moving in and out of the shots, creating a heightened sense of activity. I really enjoyed this one, even if the ending rang a bit false. Recommended. 8/10
Source: TCM by way of YouTube.