For Reel

Eleven Men and a Girl (1930)
December 1, 2014, 2:05 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William A. Wellman
2 Stars
Eleven Men and a GirlAlthough the premise of a woman seducing eleven men seems extreme even for the pre-Code era, Eleven Men and a Girl is largely a frothy, harmless ride. Joan Bennett plays the pack rat–only twenty at the time, she had already starred alongside the likes of John Barrymore and George Arliss. She had an impressive career to follow but is largely a dud here, with her wooden deliveries and general inexpressiveness only rendered excusable by the fact that ten of her co-stars are non-actors (unfortunately her love interest in James Hall doesn’t have that excuse). Joe E. Brown plays the college football star who enlists Bennett’s help to seduce a new winning team and he delivers some humorous mugging but is ultimately sidelined for much of the picture. Director William A. Wellman was a fresh face at Warner Brothers (after a brief stint at Paramount in which he directed the first-ever Best Picture winner Wings) and would go on to make far better films for the studio in subsequent years. There are some interesting stagings and the climactic football game is effectively edited to elevate the action, but Wellman usually wasn’t involved with such limp material, especially in the decade this was released.

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