“I want to see those three rooms of yours; I’ve been wondering what makes them mean so much more to you than anything I’ve got means to me.”
A hardworking factory girl (Joan Crawford) marries her childhood sweetheart (Alan Curtis) in a desperate attempt to leave her Hester Street tenement home behind her. Despite advances made by a wealthy shipping magnate (Spencer Tracy), Crawford refuses to leave her deadbeat husband — until he proposes a get-rich-quick scheme so reprehensible that she finds her love for him put to the test.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cross-Class Romance
- Frank Borzage Films
- Joan Crawford Films
- Love Triangle
- Social Climbers
- Spencer Tracy Films
This rags-to-riches soaper by director Frank Borzage remains a firm notch above its more pedestrian counterparts, thanks primarily to fine performances by Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracy, and an unexpectedly witty script by Lawrence Hazard (and Borzage, uncredited). Although Crawford — two years before her infamous turn as Crystal Allen in George Cukor’s The Women — isn’t asked to stretch very far in her role as a working class girl with (surprise, surprise) aspirations towards a better life for herself, there’s no denying that she’s perfectly cast here, and she lights up the screen with her earnest yet cautious romanticism. Tracy, meanwhile, is the perfect foil for Crawford’s glamorous aesthetic — he’s solid and grounded in his attraction for her, and though we may revile him at first for going after another man’s new wife with so little compunction, we soon realize that his love for Crawford is deeply authentic. While few will be surprised by the outcome of this sticky love triangle, it’s a testament to Borzage and his crew that we remain genuinely invested until then.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Yes, as an all-around “good show” by Borzage.
- Good Show
- Important Director