Cast & Crew
Ex-showgirls and roommates Polaire Gwynn and Schatze Citroux are reunited with their sometime friend and former co-worker, Jean Lawrence, when she returns from France. Jean, a hard-boiled gold digger, asks the honest Polaire and loyal Schatze to introduce her to a new man, and Polaire calls her boyfriend, playboy Dey Emery, for help. The girls meet Dey and his friend, pianist Boris Feldman, at a speakeasy, where Boris bets Jean that if his piano playing does not induce her to love him, he will give her $5,000. Later, at Boris' apartment, Jean pretends to sleep through Boris' concert. Polaire then plays, and Boris, impressed with her talent, offers to be her teacher. He implies that she will have to be his lover as well as his student, however, and Polaire becomes upset when Dey does not protest. Dey mistakenly assumes that an exhibition of jealousy would be unwelcome, and his inaction results in Polaire's acceptance of Boris' proposition. After Polaire leaves to collect her things, Schatze and the heartbroken Dey also leave, but Jean stays to seduce Boris. Jean's calculated exhibitionism is successful, and Boris does not answer the door when Polaire returns. After she leaves, Polaire is hurt in an automobile accident and is hospitalized. Sometime later, Jean tires of Boris and breaks up with him, then pursues Dey. Dey welcomes Jean's attentions until Schatze tells him that Polaire has been in the hospital since their parting. Dey immediately goes to Polaire and proposes to her, and they reconcile. Later, Jean makes an unwelcome appearance at Polaire and Schatze's apartment while Polaire is waiting to meet Dey's father Justin for the first time. When Dey arrives and Jean learns that Polaire is to meet Justin at the Emery house, she slips a pearl necklace into Polaire's pocket so that she will have an excuse to follow. Polaire's interview with Justin is going splendidly until Jean arrives and intimates that Polaire stole the necklace. Indignant that Dey believes Jean, Polaire storms out, while Jean stays to flirt with Justin. Later, on the day of Jean and Justin's wedding, Schatze and Polaire arrive to retrieve a bracelet that Polaire loaned Jean. Jean returns the jewelry and miserably contemplates her future of wedded boredom as Schatze and Polaire brag about the fun they will have when they sail for France that afternoon. The trio are soon drunk, and Jean decides that she cannot exchange her freedom for Justin's fortune. She sneaks out of the house with Schatze, but Polaire is caught by Dey. Dey apologizes to Polaire for misjudging her, but Polaire leaves anyway. The determined Dey follows her onto the ocean liner, where Polaire consents to marry him when he states that he is certain of her virtue. The couple then cuddles happily as Jean flirts with Schatze's male traveling companion.
Chanel Of Paris
The title of the print viewed was Three Broadway Girls, which was the film's re-release title. It is possible that set designer Richard Day and gown designer Chanel were credited on screen in the film's original credits. The picture's working title was The Greeks Had a Word for It. The viewed print had the following written statement after the credits: "Throughout the Ages, half of the women of the world have been working women and the rest of the women have been working men." According to Film Daily news items, Ina Claire temporarily withdrew from the film before production began, and Carole Lombard was originally slated for the role of Polaire but became ill and was replaced by Madge Evans, who was borrowed from M-G-M. Actress Joan Blondell and cameraman George Barnes, who met during production, were married after the picture was released, and divorced in 1935.
According to the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, both Norma Talmadge and Marion Davies were interested in acquiring the rights to Zoë Akins' play. After viewing the play in September 1930, Hays Office official Lamar Trotti advised fellow staff members: "The dialogue is brutally frank and profane at times and the whole spirit of the play is, I believe, wrong under the Code. It would certainly require a lot of cleaning before being acceptable to our audiences and to censors." After producer Samuel Goldwyn acquired the property, he and Joseph M. Schenck, United Artists' chairman of the board, received numerous warnings from the Hays Office about the portrayal of the three lead characters. In June 1931, Hays Office official John Wilson advised Schenck: "...we feel that the story ought not to be told if it is to be of three whores and that, furthermore, if this element is entirely removed and the girls are portrayed as mere gold diggers who get all they can for nothing, it ought to be pretty clear that they are giving nothing and are essentially decent girls. This will naturally require the omission of the many objectionable incidents in which Jean removes her clothing when she gets 'hot.'" The scenes in which "Jean" removes her dress were strenously objected to by the Hays Office, and after the film was released, the sequences were frequently deleted by state censor boards.
The PCA files reveal that in late October 1931, Goldwyn hired Harry Beaumont to direct retakes in order to remove some of the censorable details from the picture. According to an October 1931 memo from Trotti concerning a meeting he had with Goldwyn, the producer was "a little bit ashamed of the picture. He confidentially repeated that if he had to do it again, he wouldn't." In 1935, United Artists requested a certificate of approval from the PCA so that the picture could be re-issued, but the studio withdrew its application when the PCA indicated that it was unlikely that the picture would be approved. In 1937, the Mary Pickford Co., which had acquired the film, requested a certificate and was also refused.
A modern source quotes a wire sent by Goldwyn to Schenck in which he describes the negative reactions of Frances Marion and Darryl Zanuck to Jean Harlow, whom Goldwyn originally wanted for the role of Jean. Goldwyn stated that "She probably worst actress [sic] they have ever known." Modern sources also include Betty Grable in the cast as a showgirl. In 1953, Jean Negulesco directed Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire, Twentieth Century-Fox's production of Akins' play. That picture was also based on the play Loco, written by Dale Eunson and Katherine Albert (New York, 16 October 1946).