Loose Ankles (1930)

Loose Ankles
Loose Ankles Loose Ankles (1930)

Run time: Not Rated | 69 min | Comedy, Romance
Director: Ted Wilde
Writers: Sam Janney, Gene Towne
Stars: Loretta Young, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Louise Fazenda
Storyline
Formidable comedienne Louise Fazenda makes an unlikely flapper in this film, playing the disapproving aunt of free-spirited Young. But when Auntie is tricked into getting a taste of speakeasy booze and attentive boy toys, the joint will jump!

7 Comments

  1. IMDBReviewer

    March 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    This film, based on a 1926 stage play, is extremely funny and fun to watch. It is also somewhat hard to find. I was fortunate to see it screened at Cinevent 39.

    The story concerns a group of society people hearing a will read to them. The deceased's niece (Loretta Young) has most of the luck when an estate is left to her under the condition that she find a husband and no scandal be brought to the family. Everyone else's inheritance depends on this clause, but Ann (Young) doesn't want her share. In fact, she's determined to force everyone out of theirs because she thinks the family is too greedy. Off she goes to put an ad in the paper for a boy to "compromise her." Andy (Edward Nugent) finds it in the paper and thinks he'd be perfect for the role, but instead thinks maybe his room mate Gil (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) would be better suited. In a very funny scene, Gil goes to Ann's home and is taken advantage of by the maid (Daphne Pollard).

    Somehow, they all end up at a speakeasy where Ann's uptight aunts Katherine (Ethel Wales) and Sarah (Louise Fazenda) steal the show during a drunken spectacle where Andy tries to control his laughter.

    This film is certainly a pre-code. Aside from outright illegal drunkenness, we see Andy taking a bath and women disrobing men, along with the generally racy storyline. Possibly the reason they got away with so much (besides being made during the pre-code era) is because this film is based on a play.

    Thankfully, the camera-work does not make the film's roots evident. Of course, there are many shots that look like characters on a stage, but we also have a moving camera and many close-ups to take advantage of the beautiful stars. Young and Fairbanks struggle with their dialogue, but there are enough scenes with the character actors to make up for their scenes.

  2. IMDBReviewer

    March 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    This film is a little known entry from the early days of "talkies" that deserves better recognition. Not a masterpiece by any means, it is still a forerunner of the screwball comedies of the later 30s and 40s and, as such, is pleasant and delightful in its own way.

    The cast is very good. It is hard to believe that Loretta Young, playing an heiress who wants to create a family scandal, was only sixteen or seventeen when this movie was made. She has a charm and sensuality that belies her years. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., who was nearly as young, does a nice job as a bumbling wannabe gigolo who falls in love with Loretta. Also, as noted by other reviewers, Louise Fazenda, as Young’s aunt, and Daphne Pollard, as the "helpful" maid, give very funny performances.

    The next time that this movie is on TCM, try to catch it or tape it. There are a lot worse ways to spend an hour or so.

  3. IMDBReviewer

    March 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    A free spirited young heiress with LOOSE ANKLES shocks her rapacious relatives by embarking on a scandal with a naïve paid escort.

    Loretta Young & Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. star in this forgotten pre-Code comedy. Heady with too much dialogue, as were so many of the first talkies, it tends to creak badly, leaving the performers to strain a bit for laughs. Very little more is required from the two leads than to look attractive and recite their lines. However, there are some fun performances from the supporting cast which makes the film worthwhile.

    Louise Fazenda & Ethel Wales are a hoot as two stuffy old prunes who loosen-up when liquored-up at a fancy speakeasy–Fazenda’s flat-on-the-floor wrestling match with gigolo Eddie Nugent is worth sitting through the rest of the movie. Spunky little Daphne Pollard (the occasional cinematic bane of Oliver Hardy’s life) scores as Miss Young’s feisty maid; watching her divest Fairbanks of his trousers so as to cinch the scandal is hilarious. Otis Harlan appears as a blustery Major.

    Movie mavens will recognize silent comic Billy Bletcher, uncredited as the diminutive relative from Logan.

  4. Anonymous

    March 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Loose Ankles (1930)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Rich girl Ann Harper (Loretta Young) inherits her grandmother's fortune but she must get married and have the man approved by two of three selected people as well as avoid any scandal. Feeling the entire thing is a bunch of junk, Ann decides to "hire" Gil Hayden (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) to make some trouble and cause her the inheritance. LOOSE ANKLES starts off on a very good path but it quickly falls apart during the second half but there's still plenty of reasons to check this out. If you're a fan of Douglas or especially Young then this here is going to be a must see because the two of them have some nice chemistry together and this helps keep the film moving at a good pace. This is especially true for Young who is very good in the part and the director wastes no time showing off her beautiful legs. The film certainly fits the pre-code standard of allowing more frank situations to enter and there's a very funny scene where Young is trying to undress Fairbanks but not really knowing how. Another funny scene is the will reading where Young really gets a chance to shine. The supporting players are also good and help keep this film moving. I think the film starts off well but begins to fall apart in the second half because things get a tad bit too silly for their own good. Still, fans of the stars or pre-code films should still have plenty here to enjoy.

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    • Caren Feldman

      March 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      Glad you liked it! Toronto Film Society has screened countless films over its 69 years and we’re constantly adding our film notes online so keep checking. Hope you find other notes of interest!

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