Working Girls

77 minutes 1931

Not to be confused with Lizzie Borden's 1987 feature about New York prostitutes, this brazen 1931 drama from director Dorothy Arzner makes a few parallel feminist observations with its story of two small-town sisters (Dorothy Hall and Judith Wood) looking for jobs and men in the big city. The dumbness of Hall's character gets laid on with a trowel at times ("Aw, you don't have to speak so sarcasmly," she says at one point), and the movie never seems to make up its mind whether the European intellectual who hires her as a secretary (Paul Lukas) is a predator or a patsy. But the Depression atmosphere is indelible. With Charles "Buddy" Rogers.

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