Lady for a Day - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lady for a Day Reviews

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September 10, 2016
A Frank Capra movie that will leave you with a smile on your face.
½ December 6, 2015
even though Capra remade this pic with Bette Davis i still prefer this first version
March 20, 2015
An energetic and funny early Capra film about a woman who gets her friends to help her pretend she's rich so she can impress her daughter, returning from Spain where she had spent her life and where she met her fiancee, a Count. Expertly directed, though some of the actors are a bit overly theatrical, and not dated in many ways, "Lady for a Day" is a worthwhile watch for fans of comedies and excellent acting (May Robson, in the lead role, is the only 30s actor I've seen so far that not only deserved her Oscar nomination in her day, but would be deserving in modern times as well). The ending is a surprise, too, going in the direction we wouldn't expect.
½ November 30, 2014
'Ask them if they believe in fairy tales'... Capra's Cinderella Story is a sweet Old-fashioned Fantasy--Things aren't always what they seem. A person may appear to be rich, happy, and enjoying life, when in fact they are poorer than dirt, have not smiled in days, and are just miserable everyday. Apple Annie was a woman who didn't live in the best of circumstances but she made the best of what she had... Enough tears around here to float a battleship!!
½ August 6, 2014
never underestimate a Frank Capra's movie
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2013
A cute little pick me up for those suffering through the Depression, Lady for a Day is harmless Capra is not memorable Capra. Feel goodiness without too much depth.
February 7, 2013
a very charming and light movie. You rarely see a movie with happy ending now-a-days. happy ending are replaced by thrilling finales to prepare for a sequel.
January 22, 2013
I saw this film about 10 years ago and found it compelling and moving, It has everything ,A criminal who always buys apples from a street seller, takes pity on her ,when one day he finds her her distressed and so a story unfolds, This is a great story and will sadden the hardest of hearts, Dont miss it
May 21, 2012
it takes a while before it really starts to get going, but once it's there, it has a number of good laughs and one liners. the script probably should have been a little bit more polished before shooting, but it's a fun shticky film for what it is.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2011
Damon Runyon's short story was the perfect vehicle for Frank Capra's intended assault on the Oscars of 1933, only Oscar didn't bite. No matter, the popular street personalities he created live on for us, thanks to Capra's affection for tough characters with soft hearts, his approximation of the American zeitgeist (which may or may not be true ... but we sure wished that it was). Special mention must be given to Ned Sparks who steals every scene he's in.
½ November 8, 2011
Capra and Runyon and joy.
July 26, 2011
Looks like a heartwarming story, even if it might be a little predictable.
December 5, 2010
What a fantastic and original fairy story. A poor street vendor tells her long lost daughter that she is well to do and is put in a quandry when her daughter is to visit with her society fiancee. A city gangster always buys an apple from the old dear and decides to help her out. This is a great story about how those on the periphery of society can pull together to make even the most outragoeus dream come true. Capra went on to much greater things but this is one not to be missed.
½ October 13, 2010
Good movie...Pretty funny still even with it's age. A lot of the jokes don't work anymore, but the subtle humor is still there. Good acting too, despite that 1930 movies is all overacting.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
A very beautiful movie about a mother and daughter and love and family. Predictable, but sweet.
June 23, 2010
Cute, funny in some instances. May Robinson was very good as Apple Annie, and Dave the Dude was a gangster with a heart of gold.
½ June 4, 2010
The Romanticizer of the Mob Meets the Romanticizer of the Common Man

Damon Runyon wrote, in many ways, very silly stories. I've read some of them out of idle curiosity, and I rapidly came to the conclusion that no one talks like that. For one thing, in Runyonland, nobody uses contractions. They also speak in a very stilted way. It does have a rhythm all its own which can be a thing worth listening to at times, though I can't duplicate it myself right now (haven't seen [i]Guys and Dolls[/i] recently enough, clearly), but it can also distract from the story. He also saw criminals, pretty much all of them, as being honourable and decent guys who happened to operate on the shadier side of the law. Everything they did, they did with great nobility and the best of intentions. Their crimes were really capers, with its implication of silliness. Oh, sure, they'd bet on horses or fleece the odd square, but it was all in good fun!

Apple Annie (May Robson) has been lying to her daughter, Louise (Jean Parker), for years. Her daughter believes she's living a life high in the social whirl of upper class New York, whereas Annie is, in fact, an apple seller in Times Square. Her daughter sends her letters at a fancy hotel, and they're smuggled to her by . . . I kind of missed who. Anyway, one day, she gets a letter saying that, by the time she receives it, Louise and her fiancÚ, Carlos (Barry Norton), will be on a boat from Spain, where Louise has lived all her life. They are coming because Carlos's father, Count Romero (Walter Connolly), wants to vet his son's bride's family and see that they're up to his standards. The panhandlers of Manhattan rally to her, and they get Dave the Dude (Warren William), a Runyon racketeer, to arrange things so that Annie can present the proper face to her daughter. Conveniently enough, a friend of his has an apartment in the very hotel Annie has been pretending to live in all these years, and things go from there.

I am extremely curious as to how the situation with Louise started in the first place. The father is brought up once and brushed aside, and why Louise was sent to a convent in Spain is left sort of vague. I mean, I suspect she was sent to a convent because Annie wasn't married to the father, but why Spain? Come to that, how Spain? Was Annie living abroad at the time? Europe would have been a very complicated place for a woman alone at the time Louise would have been born. (Assuming character and actress were the same age, admittedly not reliably a safe assumption, Louise would have been born during the height of World War I.) I suppose a convent girl might somehow be considered respectable enough to be associated with a rich man's son, and Annie says she's sending all she can afford to Spain for her daughter's upkeep, but how much is that really? She seems to be doing some sort of shady work for Dave the Dude on the side, but like all Runyon crime, it's left vague, so how much can it pay?

The combination of the two men makes for a world not quite like that of either of their individual ones. Oh, Runyon quite likes the redemption of the human spirit in his own way, but his way isn't like Capra's. Capra's Dave the Dude would be redeemed by his good acts, but Runyon's just keeps going on with what he's doing. Since the Code was still mostly being ignored in '33, that's fine. Louise is probably the only truly pure character in the film, but there is, after all, Louise. Another thing which makes it more Capra than Runyon is the focus. Capra prefers to spend time on Annie; May Robson has the honour of being one of the first people to lose Best Actress to Katharine Hepburn. Runyon is probably responsible for the time spent on Dave the Dude, but of course neither man is much interested in his girlfriend, Missouri Martin (Glenda Farrell). Though I think perhaps in pure Capra, Dave the Dude would have married her at the end.

The end is, of course, saccharine already. Well, it is Capra, for all the Runyon. On the other hand, it has a perverse believability. What Annie is doing, while dishonest, is trying to do the best possible thing for her daughter, trying to give her the life Annie dreams of. Things are about to get very difficult in Spain, but the first half of the twentieth century wasn't fun in much of anywhere in Europe. It's charming, though. The idea that a racketeer and his gang, a bunch of panhandlers and a pool shark, would do something so charming for a woman living such an elaborate lie is heartwarming, really, and it's believable that people would want to be involved. It's one night, one lie, and there's a Spanish count involved. Americans, for all our empassioned superiority in our democratic (really republican, though both lowercase) form of government, have a weak spot of aristocrats. Even if it's for countries we don't really respect. After all, how many Americans even knew where Monaco was before Grace Kelly married into its royalty?
½ April 3, 2010
Has a premise that strains all sorts of belief...but in Frank Capra's hands...magic. A beautiful, philanthropic fairy tale.
March 5, 2010
Silly but such a fun movie!
November 6, 2009
This movie has solid performances from the stars right down to the supporting cast. Frank Capra did a good job directing this movie. I had some laughs watching this. This film a good of mix sweetness and fun. I recommend this movie if you're a fan of Frank Capra.
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