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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Fools Rush In

Red-Headed Woman (1932) on IMDb

Plot Overview

After an introductory song about “sins”, a department store purchase of revealing clothing establishes pretty Lillian “Lil” (Jean Harlow) as trash—later she's labeled “Red.” An impromptu home visit (“I'm not gonna spend my whole life on the wrong side of the rail­road tracks”) imposed on her boss Bill Legendre, Jr. (Chester Morris) establishes her as an opportunistic gold digger (“There's a dame strictly on the level … like a flight of stairs.”) An unexpected early return (“Let's drive right through”) of his wife Irene “Rene” (Leila Hyams) from Cleveland (“Let's surprise him”) establishes (“Husbands love surprises”) Lil as a “dirty little home wrecker.”

Just because her old beau Al the bootlegger was so easily replaced doesn't mean Lil's play­book is exhausted once she begins to circulate (“I'm in the big leagues now”) with richer men and their retinue.


The Wisdom books of the Apocrypha although they're not included in the canon are never­the­less accepted by Protestants for edification purposes. Among them is Eccles­ias­ticus, also known as The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. Portions of it seem applicable to “Red” as follows: (Sir. 9:2) “Give not thy soul unto a woman to set her foot upon thy sub­stance.” The loaded gent is asked, “You're not gone on this girl, are you?”

(Sir. 9:3) “Meet not with an harlot, lest thou fall into her snares.” Legendre agreed to meet her at 10:00 only to discover himself ensnared.

(Sir. 9:5) “Gaze not on a maid, that thou fall not by those things that are precious in her.”

Lillian 'Lil': “Listen to me, I'm on your mind just as much as you're on mine.”

William 'Bill': “What do you mean?”

Lillian 'Lil': “Why, when we're at the office … and you send for me to take a letter, do you know what happens?”

William 'Bill': “No.”

Lillian 'Lil': “Before you even begin, you look me over … all over.”

(Sir. 9:8) “Turn away thine eye from a beautiful woman, and look not upon another's beauty; for many have been deceived by the beauty of a woman; for here­with love is kindled as a fire.” William 'Bill': [laughs] “Well, I'll tell you the trouble, Red. You're, eh, you're too pretty and I don't trust myself.”

(Sir. 26:8-12) “A drunken woman and a gadder abroad causeth great anger, and she will not cover her own shame. The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids. … She will open her mouth, as a thirsty traveller when he hath found a fountain, and drink of every water near her: by every hedge will she sit down, and open her quiver against every arrow.”

According to the opening song, “The doctors said her only sins / Were too many vitamins,” i.e. letting all those “arrows” in.

Production Values

This Pre-Code film, “Red-Headed Woman” (1932) was directed by Jack Conway. Its screen­play was written by Anita Loos. It was based on a book by Katherine Brush, and a piece in the Saturday Evening Post. It stars Jean Harlow, Chester Morris, and Lewis Stone. This was one Jean Harlow's first films, and the first one she starred in. She proved to be a fine actress as well as a looker. The supporting cast was grand as well and included May Robson, Una Merkle and Charles Boyer.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Red-Headed Woman” is fast-paced, quick-witted, vulgar, and enticing. This film exemplifies the entertainment Hollywood made available before the Hays Code set the standard two years later. It was funny with­out being offensive, because there was no doubt where the lady was coming from. See it for some­thing different.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated, pre-code. Special effects: Wake up and smell the 1990s technology. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apoc­rypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.