Monday, August 20, 2012
Fashion Model (1945)
Starring: Robert Lowery, Marjorie Weaver, and Tim Ryan
Produced by: Monogram Pictures
For those of you who are not familiar with Monogram Pictures, they were a Hollywood Studio that produced low budget films between 1931 and 1953, after which they became Allied Artist Pictures Corporation. Of the film studios out of what was known in Hollywood as Poverty Row, they were one of the most prolific of the B film studios.
As most of you realize, a B film has lower costs and as a result, lower production values. Over the last month, I've watched many films on Netflix and Amazon Prime that were released by Monogram, and needless to say, many of them were underwhelming. One thing I did like about almost all of them is that they were all right around 60 minutes in length, thereby not wasting too much of my time.
Fashion Model is one of those films that glides past the norm and turns out to be a pretty enjoyable comedy-murder mystery that does all it needs to in just one hour. A lot of films back in those days were short for theaters that ran double and triple features.
Robert Lowery plays Jimmy O'Brien, a clumsy stock boy at Celeste clothing store. Marjorie Weaver, who at the time was nearing the end of her career, but was still fairly young and gorgeous plays his girlfriend, Peggy Rooney, who works at the same store as Jimmy as one of their fashion models.
When one of the models turns up dead, Jimmy is the first suspect since he discoverd her body in the packaging room and everything he clumsily says seems to indict him. After Peggy pleads with the police, Jimmy and Peggy decide that they must solve the murder in order to prove his innocence.
Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lightning strikes again when the owner of the store turns up dead in the back of a delivery truck that Jimmy and Peggy are in, and is discovered by an officer who pulls them over for an unlatched rear door. Jimmy helps Peggy escape from the policeman but himself is arrested. With Jimmy accused of murder, and Peggy named as an escaped accomplice, it becomes Peggy's intention to help Jimmy escape from jail, which she does.
And so it goes, with Jimmy and Peggy constantly eluding police, another murder, and a hilarious scene that takes place in a window at Celeste with the couple and a nearsighted, somewhat tipsy, window dresser.
It all ends, as these kinds of films usually do, with the capture of the killer (not whom I suspected) and Jimmy and Peggy marching off into the sunset.
There is also a plot involving a lost and found broach that only adds to the confusion and hilarity.
Many of you will find this film antiquated and predictable. However, thinking back to 1945, I'm sure it was a pleasant diversion on a hot summer evening or perhaps at an afternoon matinee.
Not a blockbuster, but definitely an enjoyable piece of fluff that only takes a little of your time. This film is currently streaming on Netflix.
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