Mannequin is a down-to-earth story, interestingly related, excellently directed by Frank Borzage, and splendidly acted by Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, and a hand-picked cast. Alan Curtis, heretofore a small bit actor, has his big chance and makes the most of it.
There is nothing wrong and everything right about Mannequin. It is based on a sound story by Katharine Brush. The story is the old standby plot of the girl of the tenements who forces herself from her environment and climbs in the world.
Curtis is the ne’er-do-well and gives a properly villainous performance, best feature of which is a gradual insight of the despicable side of his nature. Tracy, as a self-made tugboat capitalist, has his serious moments. But the film is primarily director Frank Borzage’s. Without the atmosphere he creates and the movement of his characters through believable situations, Mannequin would be routine entertainment.
1938: Nomination: Best Song (‘Always and Always’)