Follow TV Tropes


Film / Havana Widows

Go To

Havana Widows is a 1933 film directed by Ray Enright, starring Glenda Farrell and Joan Blondell.

Sadie and Mae (Farrell and Blondell) are roommates and dancers in a burlesque show. They aren't doing very well; Sadie is fined $5 (a quarter of what she earns per performance) for scratching her back during a show, and Mae is suspended without pay for a week when she refuses to be a stripper at a stag party.

The ladies are casting about for a way to pay their back rent when they are visited by Gloria, a former acquaintance from burlesque. Gloria has struck it rich. How did she strike it rich? By going to Havana, Cuba and luring a rich married man into a marriage proposal, and then suing him for breach of promise. Gloria recommends her friend Duffy, a Havana lawyer who helped her with her scheme. After Sadie and Mae trick one of Mae's admirers, a Mook named Howard, into lending them $1500 that they will use to pretend to be rich widows, they are off to pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Sadie and Mae go to Havana and are unpleasantly surprised to find that Duffy is literally drunk all the time. But they find a target of opportunity when dim-witted horse breeder Deacon Jones (Guy Kibbee) blunders into their room by mistake and goes to sleep. However, their plot is complicated when Mae falls in love with Deacon's handsome son, Bob (Lyle Talbot).


  • The Alcoholic: Duffy, who is drunk in the morning, is drunk in his law office, and is literally never sober.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Herman's utter inability to impersonate a jealous husband. What's supposed to be quiet fury is actually a flat monotone.
  • Blackmail: Plan B after the breach-of-promise falls through; they will lure Deacon into a compromising position with Mae, Herman will barge in pretending to be a jealous husband with a camera, and Deacon will be forced to write a check.
  • Breach of Promise of Marriage: How Gloria got rich. After the ladies find out that Deacon is already married, which ruins the breach-of-promise idea, they decide to get photos of him in a compromising position to get a blackmail payoff.
  • Gold Digger: And they're the heroines!
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Sadie whacks Duffy over the head with a bottle the first time he enters their room. It doesn't do any harm.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mae is seen in her underwear or in revealing dresses throughout the movie.
    Sadie: You slip into a negligee. It won't do any harm to let him think it's going to be easy to get those marbles.
  • Punny Name: The marquee for the burlesque act that Sadie and Mae dance in attributes the act to a Russian lady, "Iwanna Shakitoff".
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: What Mae wears when trying to lure Deacon into an illicit romance.
  • Video Credits: At the beginning of the movie, per Warner Brothers house style of the era.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: "FORGER GETS SEVEN YEARS" probably shouldn't be a huge newspaper headline, but it underlines Howard's nervousness after Howard forged a check from his boss to get the $1500.