Monday, October 28, 2013

The Lady and the Mob (1939)


“I may have come from gorillas, but that doesn't mean I have to mix with them socially!” 

            The Lady and the Mob is one of hundreds of classic films that deserve to be released on DVD. It is by no means one of the greatest classic films ever made but it is hilarious and silly and a lot of fun to watch.
            Lila Thorne (Ida Lupino) is engaged to Fred Leonard (Lee Bowman). Fred is in New York City on a banking deal so he sends Lila to his home to stay with his mother Hattie (Fay Bainter). Hattie is an eccentric woman but the whole town loves her. One of the crazy things she does is go to the bank on a Saturday where she has an extra key.
            When Hattie returns home from the bank she sees her dry cleaning bill is two dollars which is twenty-five cents more than she usually pays. She has Lila write a letter to the dry cleaner while she dictates. The dry cleaner owner comes to the house to explain the extra twenty-five cents to her bill. The extra money is fee for protection for the mob he pays it every Wednesday at 11am on the dot. Hattie and Lila want to go meet the mobster.
            At the store Hattie sees one of the gangsters steal money right out of the. She wants the laundry store owner to call the police but he will not. Hattie goes down to city hall to the mayor Johnny Jones. He tells her he will clean up the town his own way. With this brush off from the mayor Hattie calls Fred in the city. She asks him to send down a man named Frankie O’Fallon. When Frankie arrives Hattie asks him to get a mob. After the mob is assembled she has the DA make the former criminals deputies. Fred and Lila come home to see all the criminals in the living. They almost beat up Fred and Lila becomes upset. She says she will probably wake up dead!
            Hattie buys a bulletproof car with tacks to throw on the road is anyone is chasing them and a machine gun in the back. Some of the guys tells Hattie that a gangster called Harry the Lug is working for someone named Watson. Hattie finds out where this Watson works and goes to his office. Watson gives Hattie the run around and she promises to put him out of business. She and the guys go to every dry cleaner’s in the city where they beat up all the collectors.
            Lila has had enough of all of Hattie’s craziness and all the former criminals hanging around and leaves. Even the butler wants to quit.
            All the dry cleaners Hattie has tried to help come to her house because the guys have messed up their shops. Hattie tells them to send their bills to her but that one penny of her money will go to Watson. She tells them to be real Americans and standup to the men that come to collect.
            Watson and his men shoot at the house. All the men run hiding behind things. Lila heard Hattie’s speech and after the shooting decides to help. Hattie has Lila go on a date with Harry the Lug to get some information out of him. The guys tie him up and do whatever they can think of to get the information out of Harry but nothing works. Hattie next has Lila show Harry Castor Oil. The Castor Oil works and Harry squeals that Mayor Jones is behind the racket.
            Hattie and the guys storm into Mayor Jones’s office. He has Hattie thrown in jail for being crazy and accusing him of things he claims he did not do. That night the guys spring her out of jail for a little while for a few nights in a row.
            With the DA’s help they catch and arrest the Mayor.
            The whole cast was hilarious. Fay Bainter I have seen in films before but never realized I have. The films I have seen her in I have only seen all those films once so I do not really remember her. Hattie was a good character because even though she was supposed to be an old lady she was feisty and tough and went after what she wanted no matter what it took. Ida Lupino was a panic I was dying laughing almost every time she opened her mouth. I think I was a bit surprised to see Lupino in a comedy because before this I have only ever really seen her in dramas. Her sharpness and snarkiness is wonderful. There are so many little things that Bainter and Lupino do throughout the film that are so fiunny. In one scene Hattie pulls down Lila’s skirt over her knees and in another scene Hattie tries to teach Lila how to shake her hips as she walks.

            The Lady and the Mob is a cute silly film. It is a good satire on the whole gangster culture that was so popular throughout the 1930s. The Lady and the Mob, as I mentioned, is not available on DVD when it should be because it is so enjoyable. It is unfortunately not available to view on Youtube. I watched The Lady and the Mob on TCM, I suggest watching it if the channel ever airs the film again.