Both Ladies They Talk About and One Girl’s Confession start enticing enough. Ladies opens with Stanwyck reporting a madman attacking people with a butcher knife to the police over the phone. It turns out to be a ruse to distract the law while she and her cohorts rob a bank. When the police suspect her involvement, she draws the attention of the local moral crusader. He recognizes her from growing up together in the same town and uses his influence to get her out of jail. That is, until Stanwyck confides in him that she was an accomplice to the bank robbery. Being a man of integrity, he refuses to keep her secret. She’s sent off to the joint with vengeance in her heart.
One Girl’s Confession begins on a more sultry note, with Cleo Moore sunbathing at the beach. She awakens with a start and hurries off to her waitress job. Her boss is a tyrant who makes her life miserable. Even worse, he raised her since her father died and holds that over her head. Convinced that he swindled her father when they were business partners before his death, Moore decides to steal $25,000 from him. She buries it in the woods and confesses to the theft, serving her jail time happily. When she’s released, she sets out to claim the hidden dough.
I only discovered Cleo Moore recently. I’ve been a fan of Barbara Stanwyck for a few years now, but Moore’s crime flick is way more fun. I attribute it to Moore’s sassy, but perhaps a tad rough around the edges, acting style. Stanwyck is no slouch when it comes to delivering snappy lines, of course. Moore is just so funny in One Girl’s Confession that I laugh all the way through. Like when she thinks she killed a man by clubbing him with a champagne bottle and goes to the police station to turn herself in. The officer asks “Where does he live?” She responds, with an amusingly touching seriousness, “He doesn’t live. I told you that I killed him.” I’ve heard her described as the “Poor Man’s Marilyn Monroe”, but I think Moore is a completely different kind of actress. From the roles I’ve seen in her in, she’s always tough rather than an exaggerated display of femininity. She certainly does have a voluptuous figure, I will acknowledge that.