Review: ‘The Gorgeous Hussy’

Picture is primarily Lionel Barrymore's, and not particularly because the character of Andrew Jackson he portrays calls for it. His tenderness towards his backwoods wife, his rough-and-ready fighting spirit in the campaign for presidency, his opening address to Congress, his sorrow over his wife's death and his bitter encounter with his cabinet - all are portrayed with acting acumen.

Picture is primarily Lionel Barrymore’s, and not particularly because the character of Andrew Jackson he portrays calls for it. His tenderness towards his backwoods wife, his rough-and-ready fighting spirit in the campaign for presidency, his opening address to Congress, his sorrow over his wife’s death and his bitter encounter with his cabinet – all are portrayed with acting acumen.

Joan Crawford figures in four love affairs, two of which are prominent in the picture and two of which result in marriage. Her first two sweethearts are Robert Taylor and Melvyn Douglas, and later James Stewart is spotted as a suitor. Last in the line is Franchot Tone, the cabinet member she is married to at the finish.

Title [from the novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams] obtains from the fact that the daughter of a tavern keeper (sneeringly called the Gorgeous Hussy) is the childhood friend of Andrew Jackson and his wife. When the latter dies, she promises to remain by Andy’s side while he is President.

Crawford makes her debut in a costumer. Role naturally is more subdued and confining than generally associated with her. But she fills the role and the billing.

Douglas, as John Randolph, the state-righter Virginian Senator, clicks strongly. Tone contributes a smooth job as the war secretary who wins Crawford as his bride after her first husband is killed in action. Stewart isn’t given many opportunities but makes something of them.

1936: Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Beulah Bondi), Cinematography

The Gorgeous Hussy

Production

M-G-M. Director Clarence Brown; Producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Screenplay Ainsworth Morgan, Stephen Morehouse Avery; Camera George Folsey; Editor Blanche Sewell; Music Herbert Stothart; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, William A. Horning, Edwin B. Willis

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Joan Crawford Robert Taylor Lionel Barrymore Franchot Tone Melvyn Douglas James Stewart
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