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Film / Bed of Roses

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Bed of Roses is a 1933 comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava.

Lorry Evans (Constance Bennett) and her friend Madge are prostitutes who together are released from a Louisiana women's prison. They make their way onto a southbound paddle steamer, where they succeed in getting a couple of businessmen very drunk. Lorry steals $60 (in 1933 money, so, several hundred bucks in the 21st century) from one of the businessmen, but when he sobers up and figures out that she ripped him off, she jumps off the boat to avoid arrest.

Lorry manages to swim to a nearby cotton barge where she's picked up by Dan (Joel McCrea), the captain. Lorry instantly has tons of Belligerent Sexual Tension with Dan, but she lost her $60 as she was rescued, so she robs Dan too. With Dan's cash she makes it the rest of the way to New Orleans, and she manages to establish herself as the kept woman of rich publisher Stephen Paige. Lorry feels guilty enough about stealing from Dan that she makes her way back to him to repay the "loan"—and a romance ensues.

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Max Steiner composed the score.


Tropes:

  • The Big Damn Kiss: Lorry and Dan share a big kiss as Minnie looks on approvingly, and the film ends.
  • Call-Back: When Lorry spots Stephen in a Napoleon costume at the ball, she recognizes him, because he was singing a drunken song about Napoleon when she was first worming her way into his life.
  • Captain Obvious: After Lorry dives off the boat Minnie says "Can you imagine her drowning like that? In that water too!"
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Why Lorry goes back to return the money she stole from Dan. She lampshades this, saying "Thought my conscience would bring me back?"
  • Dances and Balls: Stephen finds Lorry again at a fancy Mardi Gras dress ball after Minnie browbeats Lorry into coming.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Lorry pours out her gin while getting Mr. "Smith" drunk on the paddleboat.
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  • Henpecked Husband: Oglethorpe, one of the businessmen that Minnie and Lorry meet on the boat—Minnie marries him. When we meet Oglethorpe again at the dress ball we find out that not only does Minnie boss him around and tell him to shut up, she ordered him to wear a clown costume.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Not directly stated, but it's implied that Stephen sends Dan to Lorry after realizing that she's never come back to him. Dan says "a little bird told me" where Lorry lives and he specifically denies it was Minnie.
  • Meet Cute: Dan fishes Lorry out of the river. After discovering that she lost her $60 roll while she was being fished out, Lorry throws Dan in the river and he has to get fished out.
  • The Mistress: Lorry becomes the pampered kept woman of wealthy Stephen Paige.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-Universe. Lorry has wormed her way into Stephen Paige's office by pretending to be a reporter, affecting a cultured, educated voice. When Stephen says he doesn't support Prohibition, Lorry says "So you ain't afraid of drinkin'" in a street voice, before correcting herself and saying "So you aren't afraid of drinking" in the cultured voice.
  • Title Drop: Lorry claims to be a governess after returning to Dan asks if it's a good job, and she says "Bed of roses!"
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Lorry gets Stephen blackout drunk, stages the scene to make it look like they had sex, and threatens him with ruinous social embarrassment. Stephen, who remembers nothing, gives in and makes her his mistress.
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