Monday, December 10, 2012

Case Study No. 0676: Doris Malone

Ida Lupino and Preston Foster in scene from "Sea Devils" (1937)
Preston Foster admires Ida Lupino's gams in this scene.
Tags: Ida Lupino Sea Devils Preston Foster MrJadedtom
Added: 10 months ago
From: MrJadedtom
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[scene opens with Doris Malone (unable to find her purse containing her keys at the library) entering her home through a window ... only when she flicks on the light, she finds that Mike O'Shay (whom she had met earlier in the library) is sitting in a chair holding her purse]
MIKE: You left this.
[he smiles and holds up the purse, as she puts her hands on her hips and shoots him a dirty look]
DORIS: Hmm, that's mighty white of you to return it ...
[he gets up and hands her the purse]
MIKE: I think so ... You, uh, always come in your house through the window?
DORIS: Oh yes yes, it's a leftover from my second story days. Now, if you'll just go--
MIKE: I unlocked the door open, I didn't want you to ruin your stockings.
[she lifts her skirt slightly to check her pantyhose]
DORIS: They're alright.
MIKE: You took the words right outta my mouth ...
[she gives him another dirty look]
MIKE: I knew a fella once that spent twenty years in a room, because he thought the door was locked and never tried it. You should'a tried it.
DORIS: Mm, I did, and it was locked!
MIKE: Aw, I'm sure I left it open. Come on, I'll show ya.
[he opens the door and steps outside]
MIKE: See, what'd I tell ya?
[he smiles, then she walks over and slams the door in his face]
MIKE: Hey! Hey, that's not fair! I bring your purse back and you don't even thank me!
[she opens the door slightly]
DORIS: Thanks and goodbye!
[she tries to slam it again, but he holds it open]
MIKE: Now look ... if you won't let me in, suppose you come out.
DORIS: Why don't you take your picture book and show it to Miss McGonigle? She lives at 128 Houston Street!
[she closes the door]



"Sea Devils" (1937)

When "ladies man" Mike O'Shay, a seaman in the Coast Guard, arrives at a new base, he collides with pretty librarian Doris Malone and, unaware that she is the daughter of Petty Officer William "Medals" Malone, begins a flirtation with her. Rebuffed by Doris, Mike ventures to "Sadies," the local tavern, where he brawls with Medals over a teenage girl. After the fight, Mike receives aid from a now sympathetic Doris, who is then surprised by the return of her equally battered father. When Medals, who has picked clean-cut, ambitious Steve Webb to marry Doris, sees Mike, he throws the seaman out of his house. He then has him assigned to his ship, while at the same time encouraging Steve to propose to Doris. On the night that Steve is to "pop the question," however, Mike slips away from the ship and sneaks over to the Malones' house. Steve, seeing Doris with Mike, goes back to the ship before proposing, but covers for Mike when Medals inquires about his whereabouts. Medals then tries to keep Steve off a three-week ice patrol, to which Mike is also assigned, but Steve tells him that he would rather fight fairly for Doris and insists on joining the crew. During an iceberg detonation test, Mike, who has been forced by Medals to perform the most gruelling tasks, starts a brawl with Medals, which causes the escape boat to unmoor. When the other seamen realize that the boat has drifted away, Steve tries to stop the blast but is caught in the explosion. Badly injured, Steve is flown to the base hospital, and Mike is called for a court-martial. Shamed by his behavior both on the iceberg and at Mike's trial, Medals resigns from the Guard, while Mike is jailed on the ship's brig. After Steve dies of his injuries, Doris announces to Medals that she and Mike are going to marry. That same night, a hurricane rips through the area, and both Medals and Mike, hearing the call of duty, force their way back to the ship, which has been called by a floundering yacht. After rescuing the yacht passengers, Medals sacrifices himself to save Mike and goes down with the boat. Many years later, Mike nicknames his son "Medals" in honor of his feisty father-in-law.



"Sea Devils", an adulatory film on the Coast Guard, stars Victor McLaglen as Chief Petty Officer William "Medals" Malone and Preston Foster as Seaman Mike O'Shay and focuses on their trials and tribulations. Their relationship resembles that of the well known army duo - Captain Flagg and Sergeant Quirt. Mike likes Medals' daughter, Doris (Ida Lupino), and Medals hates Mike.

Within five minutes after arriving at his new assignment, Mike manages to meet and kiss Doris, a young attractive librarian. Mike follows her to the public library, where he attempts to impress her, but Doris is able to squash his advances with ease.

Picking up a Shakespeare book, Mike reads a quote from Shakespeare, remarking, "They should have broken his arm at the shoulder before he learned to write." Doris, knowing just what to recommend for him, asks her coworker Miss McGonigle (Fern Emmett) to show Mike to the Children's Department ("The picture books are on the right side of the room").

McGonigle demonstrates a degree of consternation about this, but Mike refuses the offer, extending a rhetorical invitation to McGonigle: "You must come over and see my picture book sometime."

He leaves the library, and McGonigle (showing her modicum of wisdom about men) looks at Doris and asks, in apparent seriousness, "Do you think I ought to go?"

Doris and McGonigle mirror the appearances of Connie and Mattie in "No Man of Her Own" (1932). Doris, a brunette (bob with pincurls around face), wears a black skirt, and a black jacket with a white front vertical panel and white front collar and black bow. McGonigle is the stereotype - "only 38", pince-nez, dark hair pulled back into a bun at the nape, and a dark long-sleeve dress with a small white collar and dark bow. McGonigle reveals a lack of common sense, which reinforces the dimension that Daisy ("Young Bride", 1932) first introduced to the stereotypical image. McGonigle's statements, as Daisy's five years later, compel filmgoers to suspect her wisdom, her intellect.

McGonigle and Mattie, by their roles as supporting characters, emulate the stereotype, but the importance and the relationship of their characters to the leading female role is markedly different: Mattie plays a mature, matronly advisor to Connie, while McGonigle plays comedic sidekick to Doris. McGonigle's activities mimic any one of a number of comic sidekicks who played second fiddle to the B-western cowboy stars of the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s.

In a second library scene, McGonigle reinforces her role as comic sidekick. When Mike speaks loudly in the reading room, Doris simply points to a large SILENCE sign on the wall, missing a perfect opportunity to utter a "shush." She begins shelving books under a library ladder, as Mike recites several lines of Shakespeare to her, remarking this time that "he's a great writer, that guy."

Telling Doris that he is "completely daft over" her, Mike puts his hand on a ladder rung and leans in to kiss Doris, only to have McGonigle step on his hand as she descends from the top of the ladder. He jumps back, screaming "Oh!" McGonigle, waiting until she reaches the floor, exclaims, "Oh, I beg your pardon!"

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