You Never Know Women



IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 142 142

Plot summary

On her way to the theater, Vera, star of a Russian vaudeville troupe, is rescued from a falling girder by Eugene Foster, a wealthy broker who persists in his efforts to win the girl. Foster engages the troupe to perform at his home, and Vera, stunned by a fall, awakens to find Foster pleading his love, while Norodin, her partner who loves her, sees them embrace. Norodin, who performs an underwater stunt, asks Vera not to be present for his act and causes her to believe him dead; heartbroken, Vera tells Foster of her mistake; and enraged, he attempts to seize her. The magician appears, pins Foster to the wall with knives, and advises him to leave before the last blade is thrown.

February 11, 2024 at 04:04 PM


William A. Wellman

Top cast

Eugene Pallette as Party Guest
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
658.34 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 11 min
Seeds ...
1.19 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 11 min
Seeds ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Neal99 8 / 10

A neglected classic

This almost-forgotten film wraps romance, adventure, comedy and melodrama in one exciting package! Screened at the Fall Cinesation in Saginaw, MI in 2001, You Never Know Women revolves around a romantic triangle involving two members of an acrobatic troupe (Vidor and Brook) and a rakish ne'er-do-well (Sherman). William Wellman keeps the story moving while providing time for comic relief by El Brendel. While Brook is a bit stiff, Vidor is lovely and Sherman is perfect as the top-hatted cad. Particularly exciting is a scene involving a Houdini-like stunt performed by Brook. This film deserves to be on video/DVD!

Reviewed by boblipton 6 / 10

Illusion and Reality

You know as soon as he shows up that Lowell Sherman is a suave rotter. It was his signature role in the movies, and had been since he played the City Slicker in Griffith's WAY DOWN EAST. When a worker saves Florence Vidor from being crushed by a falling girder and she faints in his arms, Sherman steps from a saloon car and pushes him aside. He takes on the heroic role himself as an entree into Florence's world of of a touring Russian vaudeville troupe and, he hopes, her.

There are complications to his quest: the loyalty of the closed world of the troupe, and the doglike love of Clive Brook, the troupe's magician. Of course, she loves him -- like a brother -- and is fascinated by the debonair Sherman.

It's a movie about illusion and the revelation of the realities behind them. Brooks throws knives at Miss Vidor, without endangering her; he turns her into a butterfly floating through the theater; he makes her vanish from one spot and appear in another; he escapes from water traps.... until he doesn't, and reality is revealed.

William Wellman was coming off a string of unsuccessful movies, and other people who talk and write about his films think this one about a small world and intruders is the first stirring of his auctorial voice. I think he was assigned a project and discovered he liked its themes. He would return to it again and again, a theatrical world that outsiders just don't understand, in movies like A STAR IS BORN, LADY OF BURLESQUE and BUFFALO BILL: tough, bitter and mocking tales about how people protect their own.

He certainly shows us the community. The shots of the troupe in performance are close-ups or shot from the wings. The clear implication is that outsiders don't see what's going on. It's stage illusion (or perhaps movie illusion), and unless you're part of the troupe, you never see the reality.

Reviewed by claudecat 8 / 10

Lively backstage drama

I wasn't expecting this film to be as much fun to watch as it is. The backstage storyline features extravagant costumes, sets and makeup, and delightful comic bits. The audience cheered when a painting on a curtain "came to life" in a comical way. Some of the bits used were obviously stolen from Houdini, but it's always fun to see them filmed, even if Harry isn't there. A favorite player was the performing goose, who wears prop spectacles and hats when onstage. Director William Wellman knows how to put activity into a frame, so even during some of the slower conversational parts, there are often acrobats whirling by in the background. But he also knows when to tone this sort of thing down; the dramatic, emotional moments are allowed to have space. A scene where someone is trying to flee danger is shot in an effective, film-noir manner.

The players acquit themselves admirably. Florence Vidor is luminous, and, as Jeanine Basinger has written, created a heroine who is an interesting hybrid of the independent flapper and the traditional damsel-in-distress. Clive Brook is highly sympathetic as the intelligent lover. I was less sure of Lowell Sherman's casting: I couldn't figure out what Vidor's character would have seen in him. However, it's possible that a more appealing actor would have stacked the deck too heavily against Brook; both leading men were about 40 at the time of filming. (I was surprised to find that Vidor was close to 30; she appears 15-20 years younger than the men, perhaps partly due to makeup and lighting.)

The one thing I didn't like about the film was the suggestion that women who don't love the "right" man should be punished for it. I think the storyline did a decent job of resolving this issue--I can't explain without spoilers--but given the murderous intentions of some incel types, that's not a good idea to champion (which was also true then).

The lighting was magnificent in many scenes. The version I saw also had some beautiful tinting. I hope the film will be played often, so more people can enjoy it.

Read more IMDb reviews

No comments yet

Be the first to leave a comment