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He Knew Women (1930)

He Knew Women (1930) RKO Productions. Producer: William Le Baron. Associate Producer: Myles Connolly. Director: Hugh Herbert, Lynn Shores. Screenplay: William B. Jutte, Hugh Herbert. Photography: Edward Cronjager. Art Director: Max Ree. Editor: Ann McKnight, George Marsh. Recording engineer: Lambert E. Day. Cast: Lowell Sherman, Alice Joyce, David Manners, Frances Dade. 6,317 ft.

Copies of this film reside at the Library of Congress (35mm), University of Wisconsin (16mm), and it has aired on television. This was Alice Joyce's final film.

Film still Thanks to Derek Boothroyd for these scans
Film still
Film still Here's the front and inside of a herald
Film still

Review from Variety
Viewing Comments

Review from Variety, April 23, 1930


Radio pictures production and release. Based on play: "The Second Man," by S. N. Behrman. Associate producer, Jules Connolly. Directed by Hugh Herbert. Photography by Edward Cronjager. Recording by Lambert E. Day. At Globe, New York, week April 19. Running time, 65 min.

Geoffrey Clarke Lowell Sherman
Mrs. Alice Frayne Alice Joyce
Austin Love David Manners
Monica Grey Frances Dade

This is virtually a four-character picture and as near a play transcription for the screen as has been done. Despite all that and the four walls set up around the action, it holds the interest reasonably well, providing a few outstanding kicks. Not because it is inherently a good talker, but because it is endowed with some brilliant direction, acting and a few situations, this one ought to prove passable. No chance of running up outstanding grosses, but title is type that will attract. Cast doubtful at b.o.

The four characters in "He Knew Women" are a writer with a rich mama, and a poor chemist dabbler with a poor girl friend. Trouble arises when the impecunious frail puts out the hooks for the petted poet, going so far as to make charges of a compromise in presence of all to win out.

Lowell Sherman, who owns to being a class parasite and takes his heart where the dough lies, staving off an affair with the other girl, plays his role with that finesse which imbues it with many delightful touches. If an actor ever carried a picture, Sherman carries this. Even though a little added weight gives the former stage player a different appearance, he is still the suave matinee idol type.

Alice Joyce is featured opposite as the rich widow, but Frances Dade gets the break on footage and scenes. She is, the young heroine, full of vivacity and pep, but sometimes not photographing so well. A semi-thankless part as a pest, but overcomes the possible unsympathetic cord threatening to strike for her as she goes along.

David Manners o.k. as the disappointed lover who finally wins his light of love in the end. His performance lends a note of light comedy.

Besides other unique directorial touches, Hugh Herbert has provided a novel opening and a refreshing close. Opens with Lowell Sherman apparently delivering his valedictory to bachelor pals. Shot reveals unseen audience is a pack of women.

Recording, photography, par.


Viewing comments

This film belongs to Lowell Sherman, who worked with a large percentage of silent actress and seemed to continue to do so into his talkies. Here he plays his usual cynical roue character bent on marrying a rich widow (Joyce) while sidetracked by an incredibly annoying ingenue (Frances Dade) and her neglected boyfriend (David Manners, bringing his charm to a thankless role). Joyce as the dignified widow with the cultured voice, playing straight woman to Sherman's wisecracking opportunist gives one the eerie recollection of Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont. In the extremely poor quality video copy viewed it is difficult to say much else about the film, as faces and even costumes are barely visible.
Print viewed: Private video dub from a telecast.

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Last revised October 1, 2010