Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

STREAMING SATURDAYS! Brace Yourself for a Shock in PAROLE GIRL

Welcome to another edition of Streaming Saturdays, where we embed a free, fun movie for you to watch right here!

Parole Girl has the most shocking ending in all of classic film: Ralph Bellamy gets the girl. (Not to fear—we know that from the jump. Also there’s literally no other attractive man in the entire movie.)

The girl he gets is the fabulous Mae Clarke. But first he sends her to prison—talk about meeting cute!

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Sylvia Day (Clarke) gets guilted into teaming up with grifter Tony Gratton (Hale Hamilton), who had befriended her father when he fell on hard times. Now on her own after his death, she agrees to help Tony pull a con on a department store. After she’s caught and collapses in fear and remorse, the manager is willing to show her mercy—but his boss, Joe Smith (Bellamy) insists they can make no exceptions.

Sent off to jail, Sylvia’s got but one consuming, consoling thought: wreaking revenge on Smith when she’s released. And does she ever—up to a point.

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Parole Girl was a bit of a departure for director Eddie Cline, who usually knocked around with Mack Sennett, Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields. But it was tailor-made for the versatile Clarke, who moves seamlessly from a terrified, pleading victim to a vengeful schemer (with a rueful laugh that could peel the wallpaper) to a desperate wife who risks everything to protect the man she now loves.

The script was an early effort of Oscar winner Norman Krasna, who later collaborated on two of Jean Harlow’s best films, Bombshell and Reckless, and went on to whip up such confections as Wife Vs. Secretary, Bachelor Mother, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Devil and Miss Jones, Indiscreet and Sunday in New York (with my beloved Rod Taylor). Some of the coincidences that drive the story along will strain your credulity so hard you’ll need a chiropractor. But it’s a sweet little movie—and must have been especially satisfying for Mr. Bellamy.

STREAMING SATURDAYS is a semi-regular feature on Sister Celluloid. You can catch up on movies you may have missed by clicking here! And why not bookmark the page to make sure you never miss another?

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