Dancing Mothers


aec.grvn291dvd 6/21/11 New

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Believe it or not, Betty Bronson, who starred in the title role of Peter Pan, was the first choice to play jazz baby Kittens Westcourt, the part which eventually went to Clara Bow. Kittens was the second lead, but Bow turned her into a sympathetic character and stole the show from the film's star, Alice Joyce. This society drama, based on the Broadway hit by Edgar Selwyn, probably wouldn't have been much without Bow and Joyce, but they raised it above soap opera level and helped make it one of the defining films of the 1920s. Ethel Westcourt (Joyce) is a very nice, still-lovely society matron whose womanizing husband, Hugh (Norman Trevor), is keeping a mistress, Irma (Elsie Lawson). Ethel's daughter, Kittens (Bow), takes after her father and begins carrying on with Jerry Naughton (Conway Tearle), a man about town. Ethel finds out about all this and decides to fight fire with fire. She becomes a bit jazzy herself and steals Naughton away from her daughter. The family has an emotional confrontation in Naughton's apartments. Although Hugh and Kittens eventually decide to reconcile with Ethel, she takes off for Europe and leaves them behind -- quite an independent way for a female character to end a film in 1926. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

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