The recent Warner Archive DVD release of the 1933 Ginger Rogers romcom "Professional Sweetheart" provides a good chance to see a film from the period between introducing the Hays Code and enforcing it. The surprising candidness of this film includes actually using the term "virgin" in reference to the titular beau.
The bigger picture thus time is the still-relevant issue of a celebrity whose career requires a squeaky-clean image feeling frustrated regarding an inability to express his or her true self. One need look no further than the numerous Disney Channel guys who go on to play bad-boy roles.
Our story this time commences with the beginning of a radio broadcast starring new American darling Glory Eden (Ginger Rogers). The whole story is that the orphaned waif very recently turned sensation is demanding that a specific item of sexy lingerie be in the studio by the end of the show. If not, the four-letter word in the sign-off will be not be the scripted one of "love."
The desire of sponsor Ipsie-Wippsie Wash Cloth and others with a horse in the race extends beyond avoiding having Glory utter one of the seven dirty little words that you cannot say on the radio. This group is eager to lock in Glory by having her sign a contract,
Another immediate challenge is ensuring that visiting reporter Elmerada de Leon does not discover any inconvenient truths. The always great Zasu Pitts particularly shines in this role.
The action shifts to the deluxe apartment in the sky where Glory lives, An awesomely enlightened aspect of this home life is young black maid Vera, played by under-appreciated actress Theresa Harris., It is very striking that Vera is much more out-spoken maid Florence of the '70scom "The Jeffersons" than the MUCH MORE TYPICAL Hattie McDaniels Mammy-style servant of the '30s.
Vera clearly is the equal of Glory and her only true friend in her entourage. The wonderful first scene with Vera has her gleefully gossiping with Vera and teaching her a new dance step. It is just as terrific to hear about Vera having a boyfriend and that couple having tremendous fun in the Harlem nightclubs that Glory aches to visit.
Reality setting in for Gloria at this time is a less positive aspect of her domestic life. She is forbidden from ordering food that is inconsistent with her oft-mentioned image. She also discovers that the extent of the morals clause in her unsigned contract prohibits male companionship. Glory making it very clear that she strongly wants to get her some is another reflection of "Sweetheart" coming in the period between the introduction and the enforcement of the Code.
The titular American quasi-gigolo enters the picture as a form of compromise; The "suits" will allow Glory to have a man in her life so long as he meets wholesomeness requirements that include being Anglo-Saxon. This early version of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" involves largely randomly selecting Kentuckian Jim Davey (Norman Foster) to be the future Mr. Glory Eden. Fun here includes the immediate effort to manage the public image of this pawn.
Hilarity full ensues as our country cousin visits the big city for the first time. He and Glory hit it off well enough to have what may be the fastest courtship, engagement, and wedding in reel and real history.
Jim naively taking his new highly significant other at her word leads to giving her what she says that she wants; this, of course, leads to more trouble. Meanwhile, a rival corporate suitor is hoping to add Glory to its stable.
In the end, all involved take the path of greatest fulfillment, Discovering whether one can his or own wedding cake and eat it too requires watching the film.