God’s Gift to Women (1931)

Gods Gift To Women
God’s Gift to Women (1931)

Run time: 72 min | Comedy, Romance
Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: Joseph Jackson, Raymond Griffith
Stars: Frank Fay, Laura La Plante, Joan Blondell
A rare chance to witness Broadway star Fay on screen with his highly individual brand of comedy, as he plays a lothario who gives up all for love.

5 responses to “God’s Gift to Women (1931)”

  1. IMDBReviewer says:

    Plot? Who cares about the plot? Something about a guy with several attractive girlfriends, including the incendiary Louise Brooks and the magnetic Joan Blondell. We should all have this problem. ;>

    The main action involves the classic situation of juggling three women in different bedrooms. We’ve all seen this a million times and always wished the juggling act would fail, the women would encounter each other, and a catfight would ensue. Guess what? This time it happens! It may not be a classic catfight, but the brawl between Louise, Joan and another attractive brunette is worth the price of admission.

    This movie will appeal mainly to fans of Louise Brooks. Her part is relatively small and she appears sans her famous Dutch-bob hair helmet, thus revealing a rather high forehead. You will still be in love with her, guaranteed. The real irony here is that several other actresses appear with the hairstyle she made not only famous, but possibly immortal. The Louise Legion will also be interested in her voice acting. Her voice is fine, but the role gives her no real opportunity to display her ability. As we all know, things never really got better on that front, either.

    So don’t expect much out of this, just kick back and enjoy one of the great beauties of film history, the incredible Louise Brooks.

  2. IMDBReviewer says:

    Of the six or so films Frank Fay made under his early-talkie Warner contract, half wasted time presenting him as some sort of great lover. Battling this concept takes effort and a lapse in sense, not only by the audience, but by the casts of these pictures. This is especially true of THE MATRIMONIAL BED, is less a problem in BRIGHT LIGHTS, but might have reached the ludicrous in GOD’S GIFT TO WOMEN if not for the sensational women involved. Cast as a descendant of Don Juan (annoyingly called "Toto"), it is a testament to the female talent that there is still a lot of fun to be had despite the fact that Frank Fay seldom shut’s his mouth. Though the script hardly gives anyone a chance, Fay’s incessant chattering "style" is only matched once, when the savvy Joan Blondell fairly bursts into the man’s boudoir — a brief example of sophisticated bedroom farce. This sequence is followed by another gem, a most unexpected three-way battle over Fay; a sexy brawl taking place atop his bed involving ALL QUIET/WESTERN FRONT’S buxom Yola D’Avril, Miss Blondell, and the legendary and stunningly gorgeous Louise Brooks. Yes, Louise was thrown to the dogs in talking pictures, but here is one time (albeit sans bangs) where she looked and sounded sensational for the few moments we were allowed to see her. Nice moments, too, by perfectly capable, delightful silent players: SUNRISE vamp Margaret Livingston, who turns up to give leading lady Laura La Plante a rough moment. La Plante is lovely, and fully up to the challenge of sound comedy. Though hams abound, Alan Mowbray (as the butler), Tyrell Davis (managing to out-fey even Frank Fay), and the fabulous if underused Charles Winninger manage quite effectively. Merely in it for Louise Brooks (and I can’t say as I blame you)? Advance to the bedroom romp, but watch the women cavort throughout the opening nightclub sequence — there are enough glimpses to satisfy. Watch for the beautiful twins from Universal’s KING OF JAZZ, the "Sisters G," both of whom are coiffed in what seems to be Louise Brooks’ old hairstyle.

  3. tfsadmin says:

    "God's Gift to Women" is nowhere near a star turn for Louise Brooks. The movie belongs to Frank Fay, who was a popular Broadway star of light comedies at the time, and the first husband of Barbara Stanwyck. Casting the effeminate Fay as a Casanova was a stretch, but his delivery is quite funny in places. The plot line is pretty predictable stuff, but there's a sweet little twist in the final scenes.

    Laura La Plante, a tall, rangy Missouri beauty, has the female lead. She successfully made the transfer from silents to talkies. La Plante is charming, and she is photographed to best advantage.

    Tenth billing. This is what Hollywood did with Louise Brooks in the early 30s, even after she had made "Pandora's Box" and "Diary of a Lost Girl," the two German films which assured her immortality. But very few Americans had seen those movies at all in 1931, and those who had saw only heavily censored versions.

    Very little has changed in Hollywood in the past nearly 80 years. Consider Adrien Brody, whose Oscar netted him Diet Coke commercials, and Halle Berry, whose Golden Boy landed her roles in screen gems such as "Gothika" and "Catwoman." Hollywood punished Louise Brooks for being an independent thinker. Yet she makes the most of her 4-5 minutes' screen time in "God's Gift to Women." As always, you simply can't take your eyes off her.

  4. IMDBReviewer says:

    Frank Fay was recruited from Broadway by Warner Brothers to be built up into one of their early talkie stars, starting with his emcee role on "Show of Shows" in 1929. Most people really hate the job he does there, but you have to understand that Fay is kidding the audience in that film and in every film he does from that point on for Warners. The problem is, the audience didn't understand this and just found Fay annoying. Two years later he was out of a job as his wife Barbara Stanwyck's star continued to rise.

    I actually like most of Fay's other films because I can see what he is trying to do with the roles, although I think Warner Brothers did him wrong and set him up to fail by trying to make him out to be irresistible to women in several of his roles. In Matrimonial Bed this wasn't too distracting, but here it is just annoying. Surrounded by beautiful women – including Joan Blondell and Louise Brooks, Fay – as Toto, the Romeo of Paris – becomes enamored of Diane Churchill (Laura La Plante) after just a brief meeting and a single dance. Even more annoying, Diane falls for Toto, although she admits to her father she doesn't understand the attraction – that definitely gives her something in common with the audience.

    There are many good comic bits and wise cracks in the film, but it just doesn't hold together well at all. The catfight towards the end is well known as the best thing about the film, with all of Toto's women showing up at once to nurse him back to health after they hear he is ill.

    The sad thing is, you can tell Fay knows he is finished in films at this point. He looks thin and gaunt here compared to Matrimonial Bed made just a year earlier. The story is he began to drink heavily when he realized he wasn't going over with audiences, and his wife's success in Hollywood just made matters worse. It is rumored that "A Star is Born" was based on the Fay/Stanwyck marriage, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is true.

    This one lacks any kind of coherence. Look at it as one long vaudeville act and you'll likely come away more satisfied.

  5. Darinka says:

    Sounds like a great organization, and well run. I’ll join in July, maybe try out a movie or two that you offer before then. Thanks.

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