The Florodora Girl (1930) Poster

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10/10
Charming Davies Americana
drednm27 June 2005
Marion Davies is quite good in her 3rd talkie, THE FLORODORA GIRL, playing one of the 1890s stage sensations. While the other girls are raking in jewelry and marrying wealthy men, Davies can't quite figure out the game and waits for Mr. Right. He appears in the person of society man, Jack Vibart (Lawrence Gray), but he has a terrible reputation as a womanizer and is engaged to a socialite. The girls decide to teach Davies how to play the game to rake in the loot, but she really doesn't want to scam Vibart. Turns out he is a fortune hunter since his family is broke. Can the lovers united? Several plot devices later, there is a happy, 2-strip Technicolor ending, possibly the only color footage Davies appears in.

Nice film, accurate depiction of 1890s America. This film again proves the wonderful comedic talents of Marion Davies and draws from her early days on Broadway as a Ziegfeld Girl and musical star. She's marvelous, and so is Gray.

Good supporting cast with Ilka Chase, Sam Hardy, George Chandler, Jed Prouty, Nance O'Neil, Vivian Oakland, Walter Catlett, Maude Turner Gordon, Anita Louise, and Louis John Bartels.

Best scenes include Davies all dolled up in a makeshift gown from the theater's costume department, crashing a society ball and the color finale, which finally shows the musical routine that had the theater world agog: "Tell Me, Pretty Maiden." Sweet, innocent film, and very well done. Davies and Gray had starred together in the silent classic, THE PATSY, as well as Davies' starring talkie debut in MARIANNE.
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10/10
From Another Era
Ron Oliver15 July 2005
A rich young man woos THE FLORODORA GIRL of his dreams -- but is he sincere?

For nearly 20 years, no other actress in America was the recipient of so much effort to make her a big movie star than Marion Davies. As mistress of the powerful media mogul, William Randolph Hearst, Davies appeared in one lavish film production after another. Hearst's seemingly bottomless pockets spared no expense and Marion lived like a queen both on screen and off. (Their huge California mansion, now called Hearst Castle, crowned a coastal estate of unstinted extravagance, while the saltwater sequence for FLORODORA GIRL was filmed in the waters in front of the enormous Santa Monica beach house Hearst built for her.)

Never one to put on airs, Davies won the hearts of her fans and the other Hollywood stars with her warm generosity and good spirits. On the screen Hearst preferred seeing her in heavy historical romances, but she much more enjoyed light comedy fare which better displayed her talents. Which is exactly what she does in FLORODORA GIRL, getting to sing & dance a little, playing a member of the famed sextet, looking for love with the right boy but not willing to compromise her morals in the search. Davies had been a Ziegfeld Follies Girl before being carried off by Hearst; the film poses a few questions about love and success which must have given Marion something to ponder.

Lawrence Gray, an important MGM musical comedy star at the beginning of the Sound Era, does well in his role as the vivacious society boy who learns a few things about maturity while wooing Davies. He had partnered with Marion before, in Silent & Sound pictures, and they have a good on-screen chemistry.

The supporting cast provide a few laughs: Walter Catlett, Louis John Bartels & Claud Allister as well-heeled stage door Johnnies; Ilka Chase & Vivian Oakland as aging, tough-as-nails Florodora Girls; Jed Prouty as Marion's alcoholic father; and George Chandler as her big-toothed cigar store boyfriend. That's Anita Louise who shows up very briefly as one of Gray's younger sisters.

MGM gave the film a nice feeling of the 1890's with its horseless carriages, puffed sleeve fashions and frequent songs. The early Technicolor with which the film closes is most pleasing to the eye.
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9/10
Marion Davies is something else
Induswa17 January 2019
I've never seen a Marion Davies movie before. I had heard of her of course. Shacking up with that creep Hearst is skin crawling. She went for the money I guess.

But that aside, she was an excellent comedian actress. I was completely surprised when watching this film that Davies totally takes over your attention. Everyone in this film is a good actor but she lights up the screen in every scene she's in.

Her timing is flawless and her performance seems effortless. I had read that at social gatherings she was the life of the party and that Hearst couldn't take his eyes off of her. This movie kind of illustrates that.

I like to pick out the flaws of actors and movies because Hollywood is so self absorbed. But Davies was something else in this film.
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8/10
Davies Shines in Gay Nineties' Romp
JohnHowardReid6 March 2008
While not one of her most entertaining outings, "The Florodora Girl" has much to recommend it, especially in its musical interludes which a provide a feast of 1890's songs. Just about all these are well rendered by Miss Davies and chorus. Mr Gray, "who sings better than he talks" (as Mordaunt Hall aptly commented), has only the one number and irritatingly not only fails to join in singing the climactic, real Florodora hit, "Tell Me, Pretty Maiden", but actually louses it up. This is the way of the plot which tends to hamper the movie at every turn of its routine screws.

Some poorly contrived humorous interludes with over-enthusiastic Walter Catlett, and Harry Beaumont's rather routine, static and uninspired direction do little to help; but fortunately the movie offers plenty of visual compensations by way of its lavish sets and costumes, in addition to the aural appeal of its music score.
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7/10
Nice period comedy
psteier13 March 2001
The late 1890's are lovingly reconstructed, with wonderful costumes and nice sets. Very good script. Marion Davies as a chorus girl who doesn't want to be a rich man's toy has lots of chances to show her stuff. There is only one Floradora dance routine and it is quite calm. The final scenes are in two color Technicolor.
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7/10
A sweet little film
MartinHafer5 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Marion Davies starred in this film set during the "Gay Nineties". She is a chorus girl who seems to have little luck with the men. While her coworkers seem to have no trouble hooking rich boyfriends, Marion is just too awkward and "doesn't know the game" according to her friends. So, these ladies coach her on how to hook a man (Lawrence Gray). Unfortunately, while Gray is interested, initially his intentions are less than honorable. However, over time, it becomes clear that he really does love her and wants to marry her. Unfortunately, a severe financial reverse nixes their upcoming marriage. What is poor Marion to do?

This is a very good film--despite widespread belief that Marion could not act, she did a pretty good job in this movie. While she seems awkward at times, this was part of her persona and due to excellent writing you really care for her. While at times the film is pretty formulaic, how they handled Gray's mother was unusual. Usually the rich parent is rather snooty or totally disapproves of a possible marriage to a chorus girl. Here, fortunately, the mother is much more complex. In particular, I loved the very sweet ending where the mother, as well as her son, welcome her into the family.

This is an old fashion piece--one that fans of Hollywood's Golden Age (like myself) thoroughly enjoy. Others who demand newer movies or hate the style may not be convinced, but it is well worth a look.

By the way, although the print is so faded that you really can't tell, the ending sequence was shot in 2-Color Technicolor. Unfortunately, due to time and a need for conservation, the movie now just looks very orange during the last 10 minutes.
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Davies Steals the Film
Michael_Elliott6 August 2012
The Florodora Girl (1930)

*** (out of 4)

Set during the Gay Nineties, this film stars Marion Davies playing a chorus girl who is being taught how to play the "game" by a couple veterans. The game consists of landing a rich husband and she has one guy (Lawrence Gray) interested but the friends are constantly messing up the relationship. Soon the man finds himself broke and his mother objects to him marrying someone without money. It's funny but I never really considered Davies one of my favorite actresses but after viewing this movie I realized that I had seen the majority of her sound work, which is a lot more than I can say for some of my favorites. What I've come to realize with Davies is that even when the film isn't all that good and even when her performance might not be right, she still manages to come across very charming and fun. Whenever she is on she can be dynamite and that's exactly what she is in this piece, which has to be one of the best, if not the best film she did during the sound era. I was really impressed with how wonderful her performance was here because the comic timing was perfect but so was the more dramatic moments. I thought the first hour was extremely tight and well directed with Davies really going all out. There are countless funny situations and the majority of them work extremely well including one bit where she's on a swing with Gray. There's also a very funny sequence dealing with a "becoming a father" joke. Gray is also very good in his spot as the boyfriend and the rest of the supporting cast are good as well. With that said, there's no doubt that this film belongs to Davies. The final ten-minutes were originally shot in Technicolor but it has faded so bad that the sequence looks orange but I still enjoyed seeing Davies in somewhat color.
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5/10
Gay Nineties Musical OK
CitizenCaine4 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Marion Davies stars as one of the famed Florodora Girls who spurns wealthy suitors in search of "true" love or all that can be had in an 80 minute film. Davies is the centerpiece as usual and does well with the part. There's a bit of real life irony in the fact that Davies was the mistress of super rich publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst at the time this film was made. Viewers should be prepared to hear a plethora of old-time, tired phrases, such as "yes sir-ee bob", "humdinger", "I say...", "It's ripping", and "hunky dory". The supporting players do add some flavor to the film, including Lawrence Gray as Jack Vibart, Walter Catlett as De Boer, Louis John Bartels as Oliver Hemingway, Claud Allister as Lord Rumblesham, and especially Sam Hardy as Harry Fontaine. Ilka Chase appears as Fanny, and Anita Louise appears as one of the Vibart teenagers. Several songs, vibrant costumes, and sets brighten an otherwise average film. The concluding scene was filmed in two-color Technicolor, although some prints will look just tinted because of film-stock fading for sure. Gene Markey wrote the script, which was directed by Harry Beaumont. Davies produced the film. ** of 4 stars.
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