Ladies They Talk About



Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 61%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1569

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 09, 2021 at 12:28 PM


Lyle Talbot as Don
Lillian Roth as Linda
Barbara Stanwyck as Nan Taylor
634.37 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 9 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 3 / 10

While it IS interesting, the plot is beyond stupid

This Warner Brothers picture sure is a strange one! While you'd think that this company making a movie about women in prison during the Pre-Code era would be a lot racier and more exciting, it really wasn't. I was pretty much expecting a Bogart or Raft style film with women but the prison looked more like a day spa and the plot was a lot of hooey--making this a rare flop for Barbara Stanwyck.

Barbara is the "inside man" during a bank robbery and everyone but her escapes. While in police custody, a bizarre reformer talks to Barbara--telling her that he recognized her as a childhood friend. He wanted to help her and since it wasn't conclusive that she was involved in the holdup, he was arranging with the district attorney to release her to his care. At this point, she confesses that she WAS a part of the gang and he has no choice but to tell the D.A. and she is sent to prison. Now this really didn't make any sense. Why would he stick his neck out for someone he barely knew and why would street-wise Stanwyck confess when she about to be released?

When she arrives in prison for a 2-5 year stretch, I was amazed, as the place seemed nicer than most Motel 6's! The cell was decorated by June Cleaver, some of the women sat around while the Black prisoners did their bidding and there was no violence or swearing or much of anything. Perhaps calling it "like a day spa" was overstating it a bit, but not by much because inside they also had hair salons! In fact, considering how bad the Depression was, if they HAD run women's prisons that way, millions of ladies would have committed crimes just to be locked up in this nice abode!

Well, apparently this palace of women is next door to the men's prison at San Quentin and Barbara agrees to help some men in their escape attempt. When the attempt backfires and the guys are killed, she blames the reformer from earlier in the story!? This really made no sense at all, but what happened next made it look like the writers either were chimps or perhaps they'd just been drinking. After she served her full sentence, she got out and went to murder the reformer. But after shooting him in the arm, he covers for her and they get married and live happily ever after! I am not kidding and I am not under the influence of drugs--this REALLY is the plot. Sure, there was a bit more to it but the outline and description of life in prison is what was in the film!

While this was shown as part of the "homosexuals in Hollywood" theme for Turner Classic Movies in June, the image of a cigar-smoking lesbian inmate was barely noticeable and she was not a major character in the film. Apart from a vague crack made about her and a pretty younger blonde sharing her cell, there wasn't a lot to this aspect of the film. Of course, had the film been made a couple years later (after the strict Production Code was enforced), this innocent enough character would have been eliminated altogether.

A dull, silly and utterly frivolous little picture that Ms. Stanwyck couldn't have felt proud having made. It's definitely very skip-able, but also quite watchable...if you like seeing train wrecks!

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 6 / 10

Women in prison

Am a fan of films from the 1930s and have for a while loved Barbara Stanwyck and many of her performances (regardless of what the rest of the film is like). Have always liked any film crime-related, with mystery, thriller and crime being my preferred genres (adore animation too but there is debate as to whether to class that as a genre) and there are a lot of good melodramas and good films that mix the two. Am somewhat less keen on Preston Foster though.

'Ladies They Talk About' is a very uneven film and not a particularly great one. If anything it is more a slightly above mixed feelings kind of film for me. There is a lot to recommend and it was interesting to see a depiction of life in a women prison, even if it won't ring true for a lot of people (best judging it on its own terms). Despite the improbable story and the even more improbable ending, Stanwyck, most of the supporting performances and the script elevate.

There are plenty of good things with 'Ladies They Talk About'. It is well made, with a good deal of style and atmosphere. It is good that 'Ladies They Talk About' doesn't go on for too long and it never felt dull to me. It is an entertaining film with some nice acid comedy and the melodrama generally doesn't go over the top, despite going off the boil towards the end. The crime element is intriguing and doesn't play second fiddle too much, and the look at life in a women prison is sincere enough.

Stanwyck gives a cool lead performance that leaves one riveted, while not being as intense compared to usual. She gets great supporting turns from Ruth Donnelly, Lyle Talbot and particularly Lillian Roth, their chemistry being the most interesting and having the most growth.

Was far less convinced by Foster, who makes absolutely no impact in a preposterous role that is the sketchiest in 'Ladies They Talk About'. He has no real chemistry with Stanwyck and their subplot is very developed.

Moreover, the story is highly unlikely and sometimes silly and while well-intentioned the portrayal of prison life is almost too idealised. And there were films in the 30s and throughout the decades pre-70s that did have an ahead of the time grim, uncompromising and realistic portrayal of prison life, such as 'The Big House'. Worst of all is the improble and cop-out ending, which is far too out of the blue (a sudden change of decision and opinion just like that), too hasty in pace and it makes no sense compared to what happens throughout the rest of the film. This was studio-interference-like and almost insulting.

In a nutshell, worth a one time look but not great. 6/10

Reviewed by bkoganbing 3 / 10

Ridiculous and Shrill

By force of personality, one of the best the screen ever saw, Barbara Stanwyck put over many a film, especially if she had something to work with. But there were films where even she could do nothing with the potboiler material she got and Ladies They Talk About is definitely that kind of material.

The odd thing is that this with a little more subtle treatment could have been as remembered a women's prison picture classic like Caged. There are moments here, but few and far between.

Stanwyck is in a role that probably Joan Blondell was too busy to do. She's a wisecracking Depression Era babe getting by on her wits and looks. She's the front for a gang of bank robbers headed by Lyle Talbot. As the film opens Stanwyck and the gang rob a bank with them getting away and Barbara being caught. She goes to prison, but not before running into radio personality and 'reformer' Preston Foster who was from their old home town. Later on Talbot and company also get arrested and are in the men's section of the same prison.

After this the plot gets so ridiculous and shrill that it boggles the mind. Barbara still loves Foster buts hates him as well for what she conceives as betrayal. It really was actually, but that depends on your point of view.

And Foster actually looks embarrassed on screen mouthing a lot of sanctimonious blather. He's a 'crusader' whatever that means. The best way you can describe him is he's a kind of a Billy Sunday without the degree from the seminary. Foster must have kicked and screamed about this part and should have fired his agent.

The best scenes are in the prison and they hold up. But overall the film is horribly dated with characters that people would laugh off the screen today.

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