Girl Said No The (1930)
… not to be confused with the 1937 film of the same name …
Directed by Sam Wood with dialogue by Charles MacArthur this A.P. Younger story was adapted by Sarah Y. Mason into a below average romantic comedy that’s likely to offend men and women alike. It’s not only sexist in the worst way but lead actor William Haines’s character practically forces the object of his desire (played by Leila Hyams) into foregoing all others for him. The only saving grace of this film is a short sequence which involves the great screen comedienne Marie Dressler playing a wealthy woman that Haines’s character hoodwinks into making a philanthropic investment.
Tom Ward (Haines) has just returned from college where he somehow managed to earn a degree while partying. As the eldest son of the comfortably “well off” Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Ward (William Mong & Clara Blandick) this irresponsible eldest son just happens to arrive home on the date of his parents’ wedding anniversary. An outgoing personality “devil may care” Tom quickly charms his folks his 19 year old brother Jimmy (William Janney) teenage sister Alma (Phyllis Crane) preteen brother Eddie (Frank Coghlan Jr.) and longtime family maid Polly (Polly Moran) with whom he maintains a special teasing relationship. A group of his fellow perhaps even inebriated graduates show up at the Ward home to whisk Tom and younger Jimmy away for further celebration. His father and his friend who’s a potential employer for the recent graduate are left “holding the bag” as is wannabe grownup sister Alma.
At a nightclub Tom sees fellow graduate J. M. McAndrews (Ralph Bushman) a proper young man who got straight A’s with a date who turns out to be Mary Howe (Hyams). This leads Tom into bribing a waiter (Henry Armetta uncredited) to dump a serving bowl full of onion soup with cheese onto McAndrews’s head. Tom then proceeds to quite literally (sexually) harass Ms. Howe for several scenes several of which are probably intended to be funny. Tom has ample opportunity because he is hired by Mr. Sutton (Wilbur Mack uncredited) another friend of Tom’s father who’s more enamored with Tom’s college gridiron success than his ability to sell bonds. McAndrews also works there; he grows jealous of Mary’s inexplicable growing attraction to Tom and his antics. Naturally Tom fails to succeed at Sutton’s and gets himself fired.
Fortunately (?) for Tom anyway his father dies so that Tom is forced into a situation of responsibility. He proceeds to take seriously the job as man of the Ward household keeping Alma from dating persons such as his (former?) self. Unbeknownst to him a still jealous McAndrews conspires to keep Tom from being gainfully employed. However Polly had saved $723 during her years as the Ward’s maid and she happily spends it to keep the family from its creditors. Sutton tells McAndrews he wants to give “the new” Tom another chance and tells him to rehire Tom. But McAndrews assigns Tom the impossible task of selling some Denver bonds for a park to a rich old woman Hettie Brown (Dressler) that no one has been able to convince thus far. Tom talks his way past her butler Alfred (Edgar Norton uncredited) and then proceeds to impersonate a doctor in order to see her. He then gets her drunk to obtain her signature but eventually comes clean and gets her BB (bond business) “honestly” for his clever approach.
*** SPOILERS ***
Meanwhile McAndrews has gotten Mary to agree to marry him regardless of the fact that she doesn’t love him and Tom returns to Sutton from whom he learns the truth about Mrs. Brown’s earlier resistance. Tom then proceeds to break the law and practically kidnap Mary (he ties her up and gags her!) from her wedding flattening the tires of all the cars in the parking lot and driving away with his future bride. Wouldn’t you want to marry such a fellow?