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ONE NIGHT AT SUSIE'S (1930)


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Billie Dove was a former Broadway showgirl, a famous beauty who broke into films in 1921 at age 18. She made about 50 films, about a dozen after the talkies hit Hollywood.

 

In *One Night at Susie's* she plays a showgirl who gets involved with a young man (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) despite his mother?s disapproval. The real trouble is that the mother (Helen Ware) is head of a mob although she has kept her son out of the rackets.

 

He writes a sketch that Dove gets into a show but she falls into the clutches of a lecherous producer. In an attempted rape, she kills him, but Fairbanks takes the rap to protect her. She goes free and becomes a minor star in the show. Fairbanks writes a full play and she hawks it all over town. When she realizes that his writing is the only thing keeping him alive in prison, she makes a tawdry deal with another producer to get the play into production. She becomes a star.

 

The mother, of course, is fully aware of all this but realizes that Dove?s motives are good. When Fairbanks is finally released from prison, the mobster mother decides to clear the way for her son and daughter in law to have a happy life.

 

The three stars are good. Dove has a pleasant voice and never overacts. Co-stars include Tully Marshall, John Loder, and James Crane. Dove retired from films in 1932 after finishing *Blondie of the Follies* with Marion Davies and Robert Montgomery.

 

Has TCM ever shown this one?

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No, "One Night at Susie's" (1930) has never been on TCM, or on TNT before that.

I've had a video copy for years (as you must also) so there definitely are prints around.

 

Cross-checking vintage Broadcast Information Bureau ("B.I.B.") books I see that the movie was available to TV in the late 1950's and 1960's. But after the late 1960's it was removed from its TV package and withdrawn. So our copies must be copied from old TV prints.

There are several other 1930 - era Warner Bros. features just like this one. They exist, but haven't been available to TV in decades.

 

Hey TCM Programmers:

How about looking into these.

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Interesting, thanks for that info.

 

Dove and Fairbanks are just fine in their bizarre pre-Code marital arrangement here but Helen Ware's character is the surprise. A tough old lady who runs a mob and turns out to be quite the cut throat.

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Ed, musicalnovelty,

 

 

Ironically I watched this just last week. I really liked the movie. It was extremely well made. Especially, for about the first 35 to 40 minutes or so. Much better made than so many 1930's talkies I have seen. Most of which are dismal. There was a slump in the middle of the picture a bit.

 

I already said some months ago that I was impressed with Billie Dove in talkies. Any notions that they ended her career is pure tripe from what I have seen. She probably could have continued on for many years to come. Why did she just up and quit the business? Would love to see a good print on TCM. And would like to see some of her Silents as well as other pre-codes too. Not sure what films Warner's still has?

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>>Why did she just up and quit the business?

 

Her own words:

 

Blondie of the Follies turned out to be my last picture. Bob Kenaston and I fell in love and when we married in 1933 I retired from the screen. I was still in my twenties and I wanted to live as other people lived. I wanted a family and in those days if you were married that was all right but if you had a baby then you were out of pictures because you were no longer considered romantic. I had worked since I was a kid and I thought, "It's time at my age that I should get married and have a family." I wanted four children. I had two, a boy and a girl.

 

from At The Center of the Frame

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Thanks for the info on Billie Dove's retirement. I had read something like that. But it is too bad for us that she quit when she did, as she still looked great, had a fine voice for talkies, and probably could have gone further. But we have to admire her for doing what she felt was right for her, and for quitting while still popular (I mean at least we never had to see an aged Billie Dove in some awful poverty-row cheapie years later, done because she needed the money and couldn't get anything better).

 

As I've said before, it sure would be great if TCM would show more of her existing movies that have not been televised anywhere for years.

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She was a very beautiful woman. She also had had her share of men previous to getting married and at some point even the most promiscuous women usually make an adjustment once they reach 30 or so and they know their biological clock is ticking: time to settle down, get married, have babies.

 

To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time for every purpose under heaven. :)

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