Sass Mouth Dames Film Club series 20

Megan McGurk introduces five pre-Code woman’s pictures in another series of Dublin’s popular cinema club, Thursdays in September.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite

Please note that start times vary!

Applause (1929)

Screens: Thursday 1 September, 7.00

Burlesque star Kitty Darling, played by renowned torch singer Helen Morgan, tried to shelter her daughter April (Joan Peers) from backstage coarsening by sending her to a convent school. Once April has finished her education, Kitty plans a respectable career, but her manager and main squeeze Hitch Nelson (Fuller Mellish Jr) has other plans. Shot on location in New York, Rouben Mamoulian crafts a dazzling love letter to the city in his directorial debut.

The Divorcee (1930)

Screens: Thursday 8 September, 5.00

What do you do if your husband is unfaithful? In pre-Code pictures, a heroine like Norma Shearer doesn’t take it on the chin. She tells her husband (Chester Morris) ‘I’ve balanced our accounts’ after having a fling with Robert Montgomery. Shearer won the Academy Award for Best Actress for playing a wife who insists upon a single standard in marriage. Gowned by MGM’s Adrian, Shearer showed women in the audience how to cope with men in style.

Call Her Savage (1932)

Screens: Thursday 15 September, 8.30

After more than a year’s absence from the screen, Clara Bow makes up for lost time, firing on all cylinders. In the opening scene, Gilbert Roland suffers at the end of her whip. Bow’s just getting started. She collects big plotlines from the woman’s picture canon and wrings them dry: Her character is expelled from school, creates a society scandal, has broken love affairs, a syphilitic husband, and a sick baby, while living in a cold water walk-up. Clara Bow is not to be missed.

Beauty for Sale (1933)

Screens: Thursday 22 September, 7.00

Metro’s adaptation of Faith Baldwin’s bestseller presents a cautionary tale about three gals who seek their fortunes in a beauty salon. Una Merkel plays a hardboiled wiseacre who knows the shortest route to a man’s wallet. Florine McKinney is the innocent one who believes the rough lies men tell to get what they want. Madge Evans plays the pragmatic dame forced into work by the Depression. Hedda Hopper joins the cast as Madame Sonia, the salon owner, who rules over society clients and the beauty operators with ice-water in her veins.

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Screens: Thursday 29 September, 7.00

Although Glenda Farrell takes fourth billing, she owns this rare wonder in two-strip Technicolor from Warner Bros. Farrell plays an ace reporter who breaks a story about an actress’s suicide. Later, she happens upon a strange racket in the new wax museum in town and investigates. Fay Wray plays the roommate who has the misfortune to resemble Marie Antoinette. The special effects haven’t lost their wow factor over the years.

Refunds are available up to noon on the day of the screening.

Mannequins

Catch up with a three-part original podcast series about ambitious women in Hollywood.

Set in January 1934, the story opens in a dress shop on Sunset Boulevard. Designer Claire Delahunt has been asked by Frances Goldwyn to apply for a new role as head of the wardrobe department in her husband’s studio. Frances believes Claire will bring glamour to productions, which is sorely lacking, after she witnessed the Goldwyn Girls dressed in nothing but wigs for a scene in Roman Scandals. The only problem is Sam’s first choice is Dmitri Cosmo, a costumer in Monogram Pictures. Backed by her fitter Lois, and mannequins Helen, Gail, and Cash, Claire plans on beating the competition.

Listen back to Mannequins: Part One

Part two opens three days before the screen test. Claire designed twenty costumes for the adaptation of the Broadway show It Pays to Sin. While the ladies take a lunch break, the costumes disappear from the shop. Claire is ready to throw in the towel, until loyal client Lilyan Tashman arrives and offers her wardrobe. Over the years, Lilyan has bought at least one of everything Claire designed. Meanwhile, Helen suggests they find out what Dmitri’s costumes look like for the Goldwyn test. Cash volunteers to pick him up. Lois and Gail help her look the part.

Listen back to Mannequins: Part Two

In the podcast series finale, set the following day, Claire recalls the first time she dressed showgirls for a nightclub act to create a glamorous ensemble for the screen test in Goldwyn’s. Helen and Gail sign up as extras in Monogram to get a look in the wardrobe department. A surprise visitor shakes things up in the dress shop. Lois wears a disguise to sneak on the lot over in Monogram. Will the cloak and dagger spy tactics help Claire win the contract?

Listen back to Mannequins: Part Three

Mannequins is a. Sass Mouth Dames production, written and directed by Megan McGurk.

Starring:

Clara Higgins and Claire Delahunt and Lilyan Tashman

Jennifer O’Meara as Lois Kenny

Jeanne Sutton as Helen Flaherty

Olympia Kiriakou as Gail Lindstrom

M. Shawn as Princess Casimir (Cash)

Megan McGurk as Frances Goldwyn and Miriam Thorndyke

Art design by Clara Higgins

Sound editing and special effects by Dan McAuley

Sass Mouth Dames Film Club series 17

Join Megan McGurk for a series of woman’s pictures in glorious Technicolour, Thursdays in January 2022.

Screenings begin at 6.00 sharp to comply with new restrictions.

Tickets are available from Eventbrite

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

6 January

Ava Gardner plays a petulant beauty who toys with men for kicks until James Mason appears in this lush romantic fantasy. The gorgeous cinematography by Jack Cardiff is a sight for sore eyes.

The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956)

13 January

Run out of town on a morals charge, Jane Russell sails to Hawaii, turns brick top, and finds a lucrative loophole that brings financial independence and freedom from the small minds of men.

Bells are Ringing (1960)

20 January

Judy Holliday played the switchboard operator who works miracles for her clients over 1000 times before she faced the camera for this seratonin-boosting Metrocolor musical. Each little bit of business she performs is as fresh as a daisy.

Madame X (1966)

27 January

Lana Turner proves that when a star falls to pieces on the big screen, she still has an inner reserve of strength from years of studio training. Deep in her cups, at her lowest point, Lana’s character retains the MGM walk. She gives an exquisite performance from start to finish.

Sass Mouth Dames Film Club series 15

Megan McGurk introduces a pre-Code woman’s picture Thursdays in September.

Tickets available through Eventbrite.

Be sound and wear a mask over your nose and mouth.

MADAM SATAN (1930) screens 2 September

Kay Johnson plays a long-suffering wife with a cheating husband (Reginald Denny). To win him back, she uses a fake accent and wears a smoking hot devil ensemble (by Adrian) for a costume ball aboard a zeppelin. Cecil B DeMille’s picture has one of the wildest party scenes in the pre-Code era.

JEWEL ROBBERY (1932) screens 9 September

Kay Francis plays a society dame who falls for a robber (William Powell) during a heist. She has an exquisite wardrobe by Orry-Kelly, including a velvet gown that defies gravity.

THIRTY-DAY PRINCESS (1934) screens 16 September

One minute Sylvia Sidney is stealing a turkey dinner from the Automat, and the next, she’s propositioned with a job to impersonate a visiting royal for a month. A nosey reporter (Cary Grant) smells something fishy. Sylvia looks super cute (poor or rich) in designs by Howard Greer.

BOLERO (1934) screens 23 September

Carole Lombard joins up with a taxi dancer (George Raft) who dreams of opening his own nightclub in Paris. In real life, Raft paid the bills by pleasuring women on and off the dance floor before he signed a Hollywood contract. Carole is draped in silk and satin confections from Travis Banton.

THE SCARLETT EMPRESS (1934) screens 30 September

Playing Catherine the Great, Marlene Dietrich finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage to a debauched idiot (Sam Jaffe) and lusts after Count Alexi (John Lodge). Josef von Sternberg attempted to match the scenery with perversity of the Russian court. Travis Banton swaddles Marlene in an orgy of fur.

Sass Mouth Dames Film Club Series 14

Series 14 of Sass Mouth Dames Film Club screens four outstanding Bluebeard pictures, a theme which developed from a 17th century French folktale about a nobleman who killed multiple wives. During the post-war era, while men in film noir explored paranoid fantasies about two-timing dames, woman’s pictures gave an audience a chance to imagine their deepest fear about husbands who had murder on the brain. Women kept the home fires burning, but when men returned, did they wonder: Who was the trained killer in their bed?

Megan McGurk introduces the pictures, Thursday in March.

Brooks Hotel Cinema, Drury Street, Dublin.

Popcorn is free!

Tickets are available 13 February through Eventbrite.

Undercurrent (1946)

5 March

Nearly every star of woman’s pictures during the 1930s made a Bluebeard story—even Katharine Hepburn. Initially content to run her father’s house, Hepburn’s character becomes overwhelmed with desire for a suave inventor sporting a chiselled widow’s peak and sad eyes from the war, played by Robert Taylor. What she mistakes for a romantic disposition turns out to be something much more sinister. Bob Mitchum turns up as Taylor’s ‘bad boy’ brother, making traditional ideas about ideal masculinity even more complicated.

Secret Beyond the Door (1947)

12 March

Just like many of us, Joan Bennett’s character prefers to sleep until eleven, and needs three cups of coffee before she can feel conscious in the morning. On holiday in Mexico, she becomes aroused watching two men throw knives, fighting over a woman. Ripe for a fling with a handsome stranger (Michael Redgrave), she gives way to passion, which leads to a trip down the aisle. Once she’s installed in his family home as the new missus, Bennett faces a brutal truth that she married a total stranger who has a macabre hobby.

Too Late for Tears (1949)

19 March

Although Lizabeth Scott’s husband does not try to kill her, he does attempt to keep her from spending a bag of money they find one night, which is a cut too deep, especially for a woman with dreams of mink. Soon enough, she’s in grave danger when Dan Duryea attempts to recover the loot and delivers one of his best sleazy characters—a gangster who takes pleasure in threatening women. Lizabeth Scott is not easily deterred from her plan to buy things. Impressed, Duryea realises that he hasn’t stumbled upon an average housewife.

Sudden Fear (1952)

26 March

Joan Crawford enjoys an independent life based on inherited wealth and a successful career as a playwright at the beginning of the film. During rehearsals for her new theatre production, she sacks an actor (Jack Palance), because from every seat in the house, at any angle, he was not what she considered to be a swoon merchant leading man. On the train home to California, she meets up with the disgruntled actor and succumbs to his charms. After a hasty exchange of vows, Joan discovers her new groom wants her dead, so that he can cash in and run off with a mistress, played by sexpot Gloria Grahame.

(Original Caption) Look Who’s Selling Tickets! New York: Delightfully surprised, these early customers buy their tickets from film actress Joan Crawford, who out put in a personal appearance at the New York movie theater where her latest film, Sudden Fear, held its world premiere. Not only did the glamorous Miss Crawford sell first tickets, but she passed out photos of herself and shook hands with thousands of fans. After all that, she almost passed out herself.

If you want to cancel your ticket, I will send a refund up until noon on the day of the screening.

Use the cancel/refund option on Eventbrite.

Thanks so much for supporting the film club!

Sass Mouth Dames is a non-profit venture.