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Doughnuts and Society 1936
Description: Kate Flannagan and Belle Dugan operate a downtown coffee store and, while dispensing their locally-famous doughnuts, engage in their favourite pastime, friendly quarreling between themselves. This changes when Belle suddenly becomes heir to a tiny fortune which allows her to ruin high-society and create her daughter,Joan, a débutante. This creates a rift between the two former partners, with the effect that the proud Kate refuses to agree her friend's nice fortune nor let her son, Jerry, who is in love with Joan, to do so.
Released: 27 Mar 1936 Director: Lewis D. Collins Writers: Karen DeWolf (story and screenplay), Robert St. Claire (story and screenplay), Wallace MacDonald (story and screenplay), Matt Brooks (additional dialogue), Gertrude Orr (additional dialogue) Actors: Louise Fazenda, Maude Eburne, Ann Rutherford, Edward J. Nugent Genres: Comedy, Romance
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Doughnuts and Society Reviews:

DOUGHNUTS AND SOCIETY is a surprisingly nice comedy-drama from Mascot Pictures that looks to have a rather impressive budget for a "B" from poverty row. Obviously an attempt to create a Marie Dressler & Polly Moran type-comedy of two older greatest mate broads to scrap as much as they pal around (it even picks up the familiar theme of every being the mother of a kid in love with the other's kid), this film is at least as nice as most of the Dressler/Moran efforts in part because while Polly Moran was really no rival for the superb Marie, Louise Fazenda and Maude Eburne are rather evenly matched in terms of talent, two very nice dependable hero actresses able to work wonders when the material is not everytime there.These old gals co-own a doughnut dive but Maude is obsessed with high society and dreams of ruining it, spending her cash for years on stocks and claims much to the much more sensible Louise's irritation. To the surprise of one and all, a girl representing a major corporation shows up to purchase Maude's claim of a mine for $50,000 and 10 percent profit, believing oil may be in it. Maude in no time moves into a mansion with teen-aged daughter Ann Rutherford in tow. She asks Louise and her son to transport with them but too proud Louise refuses which leads to one more spat as they separate for some time. Maude meanwhile tries to ruin society with support of professional party thrower Hedda Hopper and while Maude proves a bit earthy for a socialite, it's now pal Louise (attending the party after her initial declining it) who wreaks havoc on the proceedings, chasing a dog who has stolen her wad of money around the mansion and turning the happening into a farce.Louise continues to look down on her old pal but does feel she needs to transport up financially if not socially herself for her son's sake and the mother and son launch up a parking building downtown to proves to be an enormous success, so much so that a rival tries to purchase it and when Louise declines, sets to wreck her business.Maude Eburne is terrific in this film in a terrific performance as a crude old gal who wants the greatest things in life but can't quite polish herself up enough to be at home in this fresh world. Louise Fazenda, a nice hayseed comedienne herself, has the more knowing role but in some way's it's also the most thankless part.


Maude Eburne and Louise Fazenda enjoy off every another wonderfully, as two long-time mates and partners in a doughnut store who part when one of Eburne's harebrained investments pay off and she leaves to receive her daughter into society. The two bring an sense of cameraderie, irritation and mutual sympathy that is reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy and the helping cast, including the ever dependable Franklin Pangborn and a young Anne Rutherford are fine.The script, however, veers from beautifully played tiny moments of pensiveness to to unfunny moments of forced slapstick. Eburne plays her role as if she is testing the snobby wife in RUGGLES OF RED GAP instead of the down-to-earth Maw Pettingill, which role she did take. The comedic partnership is very uneven and the net effect is generally ill-humored. Still, it's worth a look to see what these two old pros can do with their opportunities.


This "B" filmed by Mascot and released by Republic is no better and no worse than some of the "A" comedies and most of the programmers made at the major studios at the time. This is not to say, however, that it is any type of lost gem. On the contrary, it's routine and the filming is mundane. But the plot - streamlined, slightly complicated, and satirical - sometimes rises to the lvl of better films, and the screenplay includes an occasional sharp line ("Everyone will be here. The very cream of society." "The cream of today becomes the cheese of tomorrow."). Still, it also includes too poorly paced bits and broad humor. Some of this, however, is the fault of the inadequate direction by Lewis D. Collins.The delight of the movie is Louise Fazenda. A veteran from the earliest silent comedies - her career dates from 1913 - and a solid helping user in musicals and comedies, Fazenda plays her part with an interesting range: adept physical comedy to poignant moments of pure drama. Her pairing with Maude Eburne is uneven: occasionally, the two hit a rhythm that's fun to watch; yet, as often, they fully miss the mark. Eburne seems at fault here, occasionally testing her hero with the wrong tone and inadequate line-readings.Other positive points of the movie contain the casting of a young Ann Rutherford and the always-reliable Franklin Pangborne. Still, it's worth a look for Fazenda.



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