For Reel

Beauty and the Boss (1932)
December 19, 2011, 12:44 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Warren William charms as a despicable banking baron in Roy Del Ruth’s Beauty and the Boss, one of the earliest examples of the “boss falls for secretary” sub-genre. Women, claims the baron, have no business in the workplace because they distract men and threaten productivity. Enter Marian Marsh’s Susie Sachs, who, plainly dressed and poor, seems to pose him no threat in a secretarial position. In Cinderella fashion, however, Sachs undergoes a makeover and the baron is smitten. Short and fast-paced, the film is a breezy distraction, albeit one that doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression. The ending is a disappointment in that it all but reaffirms that attractive women have no place in a working environment. Neglecting the inherent chauvinism of the premise (it would be tiresome to impose 21st century moral standards on any piece of history), the third act cheapens Marsh’s character, whose transformation had turned her into a woman who the audience might expect would “tame” the baron, though she never quite gets the opportunity to. Nonetheless, William is a joy to watch, and Marsh, prior to her change, carries a sardonic bite that was absent entirely from her performance in the picture that she had previously starred in alongside William, Under 18.

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