Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Road to Ruin (1934)

Directors: Dorothy Davenport, Melville Shyer

Writers: Dorothy Davenport, Willis Kent

Composer: ???

Starring: Helen Foster, Nell O'Day, Glen Boles, Robert Quirk, Paul Page, Richard Hemingway, Virginia True Boardman, Richard Tucker, Donald Kerr, Eleanor Thatcher, Neal Pratt, Jimmy Tolson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: An innocent girl! A life destroyed!

Plot: A young girl gets involved with a crowd that smokes marijuana, drinks and has sex. She winds up an alcoholic, pregnant drug addict and is forced to get an abortion.

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Say, parents, don't let your daughters hang around college boys or she could wind up like Ann Dixon - an alcoholic, drug addict, preggers and forced into an abortion and worse...DEAD!  Yep.  That's the moral of this story and it only took 62 long, boring minutes to do it.  What's to like?  Lots.  The succession of one little drink that leads to all kinds of vices and sins, one of which is gambling!!!  Strip Dice, anyone?

These parties are scandalous.  Yeah, this is 80 years ago right about when the Hays Code (censorship) started to be enforced, but it's salaciously fun in that someone back then was passionate about bringing these ills of society to movie houses. The problem is it's a really slow melodrama.  There are some period tunes played/sung at parties and a bar, which really help punch up the picture, but the rest of it is virtually music-free.  It was still common for films to have sparse scores in 1934.  Max Steiner's score for KING KONG (1933) the year before proved how valuable a full score could be but ROAD is from a minor studio and I'm sure adding a score would be expensive or at least taxing on the budget.  I can't fault them for it but it sure would have helped in a lot of scenes.  It's because of the slow pacing that will keep me from revisiting it.  

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