Mannequin

  • 1937
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Crawford and Tracy made only this one film together. Too bad they did not have better material for their solo effort. Crawford is a Hester Street girl (New York's Lower East Side) who loves Curtis, a two-bit con artist. They do not have much money but they are in love so she agrees to marry him when he pops the question. They have a small wedding dinner...read more

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Crawford and Tracy made only this one film together. Too bad they did not have better material for their solo effort. Crawford is a Hester Street girl (New York's Lower East Side) who loves Curtis, a two-bit con artist. They do not have much money but they are in love so she agrees to

marry him when he pops the question. They have a small wedding dinner in a restaurant and are congratulated by shipping magnate Tracy, at the next table. Tracy is instantly taken by Crawford, something that his assistant, Morgan, sees clearly. The Crawford-Curtis marriage is rocky from the start

and gets rockier when she becomes increasingly aware of his small-time schemes which will probably put him in jail if they become more brazen. Crawford leaves Curtis and gets a job as a model for expensive clothes (what they used to call "mannequins" in those days) where she meets Tracy again. Her

heart still belongs to Curtis, or so she thinks, so she does not encourage the smitten Tracy. But Tracy's warm, winning way soon melts her reserve so she divorces Curtis and marries Tracy. Curtis has conveniently disappeared, for a while. Crawford and Tracy take a long and happy honeymoon abroad

and when they return, Tracy's business is having labor problems. Enter Curtis again with a scheme to blackmail Crawford and Tracy. Crawford tells Curtis to buzz off but Tracy misunderstands their relationship and thinks that his wife still may love her ex-husband. Tracy is under serious pressure

at his business and is now feeling mighty low in his domestic life, but plucky Crawford makes certain that Tracy knows she will not desert him and they will face the future together.

It's an old rags-to-riches plot and Crawford could never persuade anyone she came from downtrodden Hester Street (immortalized in the movie of the same name by Joan Micklin Silver, which won an Oscar nomination for her script), an area that was almost totally Eastern European Jewish and Crawford,

as good as she could be, was as Eastern European as Sabu. Leo Gorcey, as her kid brother, is far more believable in the role because that is the area whence he came. Curtis was excellent in his film debut (he did a tiny bit in WINTERSET) and would have had a long career were it not cut short by

his death following a kidney operation. Though it was rumored that Crawford and Tracy argued during this film, the flamboyant actress dispelled such notions in her autobiography: "It was inspiring to play opposite Tracy. His is such simplicity of performance, such naturalness and humor. He walks

through a scene just as he walks through life. He makes it seem so easy, and working with him I had to learn to underplay. We worked together as a unit, as if we'd worked together for years...`Slug' I called him, from the day he was clowning around and took the stance of a boxer. In the most

serious scene, Slug could break me up. . .From Slug I learned to keep my own identity in a scene, not to be distracted by anything, including Tracy. Columnists insisted we were feuding. We never had a moment's disharmony." Crawford suffered a bout with pneumonia during the production and her

physicians urged her to take up sports; she and Tracy played polo until the actor took a nasty spill and promised that he would stay away from such dangerous activities. He was too valuable to the studio to break his neck while socking a ball with a mallet while leaning from a racing horse. One

song in this film, "Always and Always" by Edward Ward, Chet Forrest, and Robert Wright, was nominated for an Oscar.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Crawford and Tracy made only this one film together. Too bad they did not have better material for their solo effort. Crawford is a Hester Street girl (New York's Lower East Side) who loves Curtis, a two-bit con artist. They do not have much money but they… (more)

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