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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

Archive Talks: Leftover Ladies

A man handing a cigarette to a woman, both dressed formally.
October 8, 2023 - 7:00 pm
Talk by Marsha Gordon, author of "Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life & Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott." Book signing before screening.

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Your seat will be assigned to you when you pick up your ticket at the box office. Seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens one hour before the event.

Leftover Ladies

U.S., 1931

This rarely shown pre-Code film is chock full of transgressions that would have made Will Hays swoon! Not long after her best-selling novel, Ex-Wife (1929), catapulted Ursula Parrott into the public eye, she published “Leftover Ladies,” a manifesto about women’s supposed freedoms in the modern age. Poverty Row producer Tiffany Productions bought the rights for what would become one of three Parrott film adaptations released in 1931 (MGM’s Strangers May Kiss with Norma Shearer and Gentleman’s Fate with John Gilbert were the others). A film about divorce and women’s professional ambitions, alcohol and affairs, Leftover Ladies paints a delightfully dissipated portrait of New York City life. As one advertisement for the film described it: “she laughed at the bonds of matrimony — she defied convention — she loved — she paid.”

The 35mm print of Leftover Ladies on loan from the Library of Congress for this screening is the only known copy of the film in the United States.

One of 10 films adapted from the writings of Ursula Parrott, Leftover Ladies will be introduced by Marsha Gordon, Professor and Director of Film Studies at North Carolina State University, who will be on hand before the screening to sign copies of her recently-published biography Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life & Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott (UC Press).  

35mm, b&w, 69 min. Director: Erle Kenton. Screenwriter: Robert Presnell Sr. Story by: Ursula Parrott. With: Claudia Dell, Marjorie Rambeau, Walter Byron.

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