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He Knew Women

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HE KNEW WOMEN
(1930)
An RKO Pictures Production
Directed by F. Hugh Herbert
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With:
Lowell Sherman, David Manners, Alice Joyce, Frances Dade

Noted stage actor and later director Lowell Sherman stars in He Knew Women, a parlor comedy romance based on S. N. Behrman's play, "The Second Man." Although the action is confined to one room and dialog laden, the film still manages to entertain.

Pseudo-writer Geoffrey Clarke (Lowell Sherman) is engaged to Mrs. Frayne, (Alice Joyce) a wealthy widow. Although aware of his worthlessness, Mrs. Frayne is genuinely in love with Geoffrey. He, of course, has no use for something as useless as love, and intends to live off of his wife's money, quite happily. Geoffrey's hoped for bliss is complicated by Monica Grey, (Frances Dade) a young, pretty girl who insists she is in love with him and will not sit by while he marries another. Geoffrey, while attracted to Monica, is not about to give up his "meal-ticket." Austin Lowe, (DM) wealthy chemist and friend of Geoffrey's "has it bad" for Monica and, knowing of her desire for Geoffrey, is beside himself with despair. After Monica falsely claims Geoffrey "must" marry her in the company of all concerned, Austin attempts to shoot him. "A few too many" and a poor aim save Geoffrey's life and he kindly escorts Austin upstairs to bed. Shortly after, Mrs. Frayne drops in to say she is through with Geoffrey. Austin and Monica re-unite, after the not-too-bright girl realizes she loves him after all, and confesses her previous lie. He Knew Women ends on a note of hope for Geoffrey as he, in pursuit of Mrs. Frayne again, shows up on board the ship she is sailing on to Italy and begins to exert his charm once more.

He Knew Women was praised at the time for its direction and in the words of Robert H. Cowing, "This picture accomplishes an almost impossible task – making a motion picture wholly of dialog action and character background." Indeed, Sherman imbues his character with almost sympathetic charm, cad or no, and the rest of the cast give fine performances as well. "David Manners is excellent as the stubborn, unimaginative lover," Cowing adds. According to Variety, "This is virtually a four-character picture and as near a play transcription for the screen as has been done. Despite all that and the four walls set up around the action it holds the interest reasonably well, providing a few outstanding kicks. Not because it is inherently a good talker, but because it is endowed with some brilliant direction, acting, and a few situations, this one ought to prove passable." DM would work with Lowell Sherman again in The Greeks Had a Word for Them.


He Knew Women He Knew Women He Knew Women

 

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