Shopworn (1932)

68, 72 or 78 mins | Melodrama | 25 March 1932

Director:

Nick Grinde

Writer:

Sarah Y. Mason

Cinematographer:

Joseph Walker

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

According to information contained in the file for this film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Shopworn was originally intended as an adaptation of Charles Norris ' novel Zelda Marsh . In May 1931, however, the PCA responded negatively to Columbia's desire to adapt Zelda Marsh into a screenplay, noting that it was "filled with dangerous material," including "immoral relations" and abortion. As a Dec 1931 PCA memorandum suggests that the novel and a 4 Dec draft of the screenplay were "very dissimilar in every respect," the extent of the film's basis on the book is unclear. The PCA called the 4 Dec draft of the script a "very grave problem." According to a synopsis of the original script of Shopworn , it called for the leading female character to enter a life of prostitution following her release from the reformatory, and for her to take "the object of her early love away from his very good and charming wife." The PCA rejected this and further criticized the script's characterization of people of "decent and conventional society" as "unsympathetic, narrow, selfish and insincere...[while] prostitution and its reward are made very attractive." The PCA also noted that this was Columbia's first attempt to "include in one picture incidents of fornication, prostitution and a 'kept' woman." To remedy the problem of the script's characterization of the female lead, the PCA suggested that she be made to struggle against the injustice of other unscrupulous characters in the story, which would "justify the sympathy and final admiration of the audience and of the people who represent the cleaner and conventional side ... More Less

According to information contained in the file for this film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Shopworn was originally intended as an adaptation of Charles Norris ' novel Zelda Marsh . In May 1931, however, the PCA responded negatively to Columbia's desire to adapt Zelda Marsh into a screenplay, noting that it was "filled with dangerous material," including "immoral relations" and abortion. As a Dec 1931 PCA memorandum suggests that the novel and a 4 Dec draft of the screenplay were "very dissimilar in every respect," the extent of the film's basis on the book is unclear. The PCA called the 4 Dec draft of the script a "very grave problem." According to a synopsis of the original script of Shopworn , it called for the leading female character to enter a life of prostitution following her release from the reformatory, and for her to take "the object of her early love away from his very good and charming wife." The PCA rejected this and further criticized the script's characterization of people of "decent and conventional society" as "unsympathetic, narrow, selfish and insincere...[while] prostitution and its reward are made very attractive." The PCA also noted that this was Columbia's first attempt to "include in one picture incidents of fornication, prostitution and a 'kept' woman." To remedy the problem of the script's characterization of the female lead, the PCA suggested that she be made to struggle against the injustice of other unscrupulous characters in the story, which would "justify the sympathy and final admiration of the audience and of the people who represent the cleaner and conventional side of life in the story."
       Following completion of production on Shopworn , the PCA, on 16 Jan 1932, informed Columbia that the film "violated the Code, both in spirit and in letter," citing examples in the film of the PCA's initial complaints about the story. In a memo sent to MPPDA President Will H. Hays, Colonel Jason S. Joy, Director of the Studio Relations of the AMPP, called the production "an example of the stubborn refusal of this particular company to take advice." In late Feb 1932, Columbia agreed to make a number of changes in the film and to resubmit it to the PCA for a second review. The revised version of Shopworn , which eliminated, among other things, the hint of prostitution on the part of the lead, made the picture "satisfactory under the Code." The Var review noted that the film had "episodes that do not blend into the story smoothly, sequences that hang in the air lacking background and significance as though passages depending upon them had been deleted."
       In 1938, when Columbia submitted a request to the PCA for re-issue certification, the PCA rejected the request on grounds that it was the story of "the life of a loose and immoral woman, without the necessary compensating moral values," and that it contained a number of lines of "unacceptable" dialogue. According to a Sep 1938 memo, under the supervision of Columbia producer Joseph Sistrom, the studio made additional eliminations in the film to bring it into agreement with PCA demands.
       Modern sources list Joseph Sauers , Joan Standing, Martha Mattox and Dorothea Wolbert in the cast. Modern sources also note that Lila Lee was originally slated for the part played by Barbara Stanwyck. According to a biography of Stanwyck, Stanwyck disliked the script and called it "one of those terrible pictures they sandwiched in when you started." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
3 Apr 32
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Apr 32
pp. 23-24.
New York Times
4 Apr 32
p. 13.
Variety
5 Apr 32
p. 14.
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 March 1932
Production Date:
8 December--29 December 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 March 1932
Copyright Number:
LP2899
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68, 72 or 78
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When her father dies in an avalanche, young Kitty Lane is orphaned and goes to work as a waitress in her Aunt Dot's and Uncle Fred's cafe, The Campus Inn. One day, while waiting tables, Kitty meets college student Dave Livingston, and they begin dating. When Dave's mother Helen, an aging society matron, sees that her son is dating Kitty, she tells him that she is displeased at his choice in women and recommends that he stop seeing her. Later, Helen tries to break up Dave and Kitty by feigning a heart ailment and asking Dave to accompany her to a specialist in Europe. Dave consents to the trip but ruins his mother's scheme when he asks Kitty to marry him and join them. Helen tries to prevent the marriage by having her friend, Judge Forbes, bribe Kitty to leave town, but when that attempt fails, they bring a trumped-up morals charge against her. While Kitty is sent to the State Home for the Regeneration of Females for ninety days, Dave goes to Europe with his mother. Six years pass, during which time Kitty, aided by wealthy admirers, gains notoriety as a showgirl and actress. When she and Dave finally meet again, their love is reawakened, and Dave is determined to marry her. Helen again tries to talk Kitty out of the marriage, telling her how it would affect Dave's successful career as a doctor, and brandishes her pistol in order to make her point. Kitty gently takes the gun away from Helen, and when Dave arrives, pretends to him that she does not want to marry him. Helen, now impressed ... +


When her father dies in an avalanche, young Kitty Lane is orphaned and goes to work as a waitress in her Aunt Dot's and Uncle Fred's cafe, The Campus Inn. One day, while waiting tables, Kitty meets college student Dave Livingston, and they begin dating. When Dave's mother Helen, an aging society matron, sees that her son is dating Kitty, she tells him that she is displeased at his choice in women and recommends that he stop seeing her. Later, Helen tries to break up Dave and Kitty by feigning a heart ailment and asking Dave to accompany her to a specialist in Europe. Dave consents to the trip but ruins his mother's scheme when he asks Kitty to marry him and join them. Helen tries to prevent the marriage by having her friend, Judge Forbes, bribe Kitty to leave town, but when that attempt fails, they bring a trumped-up morals charge against her. While Kitty is sent to the State Home for the Regeneration of Females for ninety days, Dave goes to Europe with his mother. Six years pass, during which time Kitty, aided by wealthy admirers, gains notoriety as a showgirl and actress. When she and Dave finally meet again, their love is reawakened, and Dave is determined to marry her. Helen again tries to talk Kitty out of the marriage, telling her how it would affect Dave's successful career as a doctor, and brandishes her pistol in order to make her point. Kitty gently takes the gun away from Helen, and when Dave arrives, pretends to him that she does not want to marry him. Helen, now impressed with Kitty's show of real character, has a change of heart and gives her blessing to the marriage. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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