splash  Based on a popular stage play, Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em is a topical drama about two flapper sisters — one “good” and one “bad” — who work as shop girls in a department store. A popular and critical success, the film marked a turning point in Louise Brooks’ film career. Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em was the last movie Brooks made on the East Coast. Soon, she would leave for Hollywood and Paramount’s studio on the West Coast.

The Chicago Tribune named the film one of the six best movies of the month. Its critic, Mae Tinee, proclaimed, “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em is one of the snappiest little comedy dramas of the season. Full of human interest. Splendidly directed. Acted beautifully.” Dorothy Herzog, film critic for the New York Daily Mirror (and Evelyn Brent’s later romantic partner) penned similarly, “A featherweight comedy drama that should register with the public because of the fine work done by the principals and its amusing gags. . . . Louise Brooks gives the best performance of her flicker career as the selfish, snappily dressed, alive number — Janie. Miss Brooks sizzles through this celluloider, a flapper lurer with a Ziegfeld figure and come-on eyes.”

Critics across the country thought Brooks stole the show. The Los Angeles Record wrote, “Evelyn Brent is nominally starred in Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em, but the work of Louise Brooks, suave enticing newcomer to the Lasky fold, stands out most. The flippant, self-centered little shop girl is given sly and knowing interpretation by Miss Brooks, who is, if memory serves aright, a graduate of that great American institute of learning, the Follies.” The Kansas City Times went further, “Louise Brooks does another of her flapper parts and is a good deal more realistic than the widely heralded Clara Bow. Miss Brooks uses the dumb bell rather than the spit-fire method. But she always gets what she wants.”

And once again, New York critics singled out the actress, lavishing praise on Brooks with the film almost an after-thought. The New York Herald Tribune critic opined, “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em . . . did manage to accomplish one thing. It has silenced, for the time being at least, the charge that Louise Brooks cannot act. Her portrayal of the predatory shop girl of the Abbott-Weaver tale was one of the bright spots of recent film histrionism.”

John S. Cohen Jr. of the New York Sun added, “The real surprise of the film is Louise Brooks. With practically all connoisseurs of beauty in the throes of adulation over her generally effectiveness, Miss Brooks has not heretofore impressed anyone as a roomful (as Lorelei says) of Duses. But in Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em, unless I too have simply fallen under her spell, she gives an uncannily effective impersonation of a bad little notion counter vampire. Even her excellent acting, however, cannot approach in effectiveness the scenes where, in ‘Scandals’ attire, she does what we may call a mean Charleston.”

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STORY SYNOPSIS:
“While Mame Walsh is away on vacation, her younger sister, Janie, begins a flirtation with Mame’s sweetheart, Bill Billingsley, who clerks in the same department store where they work. Mame stages a surprise party for Bill, at which she plans to accept his proposal, until she sees Janie secretly kissing him and announces she will adopt Janie’s philosophy of “love ’em and leave ’em.” She begins an obvious flirtation with Lem Woodruff, a petty crook and gambler. Janie, meanwhile, having dissipated the funds of the department store’s welfare club in racetrack betting, tries to recover her losses with Lem’s help. Miss Streeter, the club president, threatens to prosecute, and Janie places the blame on Mame. The store masquerade finds Janie dancing with doubt-torn Bill and flirting with manager McGonigle, thereby winning promotions for all; and Mame, retrieving the club funds from Lem, is reunited with Bill.”

PRODUCTION HISTORY:
Production took place January 3 through 29, 1926. The film was shot at Paramount’s Astoria Studios on Long Island (located at 3412 36th Street in the Astoria neighborhood in Queens), and on location (in Central Park ?) and inside an actual NYC department store.

CAST:

Evelyn Brent
Mame Walsh
Lawrence Gray
Bill Billingsley
Louise Brooks
Janie Walsh
Osgood Perkins
Lem Woodruff
Jack Egan
Cartwright
Marcia Harris
Miss Streeter
Edward Garvey
Mr. Whinfer
Vera Sisson
Mrs. Whinfer
Joseph McClunn
August Whinfer
Arthur Donaldson
Mr. McGonigle
Elise Cavanna
Miss Gimple
Dorothy Mathews
Minnie
Blanche Le Claire
Dancer at the masquerade ball (uncredited)
Anita Page
(uncredited)

CREDITS:

Studio:
Famous-Players Lasky
Producer:
Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky
Associate Producer:
William LeBaron
Director:
Frank Tuttle
Assistant Director
Russell Mathews
Production Editor:
Ralph Block
Writing Credits:
Townsend Martin (screenplay), adapted from the stage play by John V.A. Weaver and George Abbott
Cinematography:
George Webber
Film and Title Editor:
Julian Johnson
Costuming:
Herman Smith (uncredited)
Format:
Silent – black & white
Running Time:
6 reels
Copyright:
December 3, 1926 by Famous Players-Lasky Corp. (LP23404)
Release Date:
December 6, 1926
NYC Premiere:
December 4, 1926 ; prior screenings in Nashville, Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan
Country of Origin:
United States

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Under its American title, Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em, documented screenings of the film took place in British Malaysia (Singapore), Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and the British Isles (England, Isle of Man, and Scotland).  Elsewhere, this motion picture was known to have been shown under other-language titles including Amalos y dejalos (Argentina); Se corrió una fija (Argentina); Zwei Madel und ein Mann (Austria); Een Galant uitstaller (Belgium); Amal-as e deixal-as (Brazil); Láska ’em a odejít ’em (Czechoslovakia); Het Meisje van ‘t Warenhaus (Dutch East Indies); Oekesed võisfejad (Estonia); Le galant etalagiste (France); 百貨店 (Japan); Le galant Etalagiste! Liebe im Warenhaus! (Luxembourg); Het Meisje Van ‘T Warenhuis (The Netherlands); Meisjes die je Vergeet (The Netherlands); Kobieto nie grzesz (Poland); Amá-las e deixá-las (Portugal); Ama-O E Deixa-O (in Portuguese-American newspapers); and and ¡Amalos & y déjalos! (Spain).

STATUS:
The film is extant. Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em has been released for home video (from a 16mm reduction print) on VHS and DVD.

RELATED ARTICLES & REVIEWS:
Love Em and Leave Em screens in Fremont, CA,” by Thomas Gladysz  (examiner.com, October 1, 2010).
— “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1926): Problem Child,” by Nitrate Diva (blog, November 14, 2013).

TRIVIA: about the film

— John Van Alstyne Weaver, Jr. (1893-1938) was a poet, novelist and screenwriter whose slangy, vernacular poems (written in what was once described as “Americanese”) attracted the approval of the famed critic H. L. Mencken. Weaver’s stage play, Love ’em and leave ’em; a comedy in three acts (with George Abbott) was adapted from his earlier verse novel.

— After the success of The Show-Off, Paramount at first considered reuniting Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson and Louise Brooks in Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em.

— The character Lem Woodruff was played by Osgood Perkins, an accomplished stage actor and the father of famed actor Tony Perkins.

— Ed Garvey, who plays Mr. Whinfer, was a star football player at Notre Dame.

— According to her 2008 obituary in the Los Angeles Times, actress Anita Page appeared in an uncredited bit part in Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em.

— Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em proved popular, and continued to be shown around the United States into the spring of 1928, a long run at the time.

— In 1929, Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em was remade as The Saturday Night Kid, a talkie starring Clara Bow, Jean Arthur, and James Hall with Jean Harlow in a bit part. The remake was directed by Brooks’ ex-husband Eddie Sutherland.