Sheila Seymour, on the surface an upstanding pillar of the community, runs a military canteen for soldiers on leave. They're treated to donuts, Cokes and babes who seduce and marry them before the doll-dizzy doughboys are shipped overseas. That seems a better basis for a reality series than Duck Dynasty.
|Shelia tries distracting Pete by wearing|
a trashcan lid on her head.
In addition to her harem of cutie-pies, Sheila also commands several stooges who collect the benefit payouts and hire more future "wives" for her marriage factory. Too bad for Sheila, it's all about to get kamakazied. Army Col. Pete Martin is going undercover to bust the gang. One of Sheila's gunsels, Moranto, wants to set up his own harem of allotment babes. And her old childhood chum Gladys helps a hoodlum named Spike to kidnap Sheila's daughter Connie, an ungrateful boarding school bitch who has no idea of Mom's real occupation. What's a gangsteress to do?
|How many men out there have gotten this same|
It could be that Sheila's nursing a broken heart. When asked if her husband is dead, she replies, "Africa." Either he was killed in combat on the dark continent or she's speaking in a code not even the Enigma machine could break. Tonight when my wife asks me if I brushed my teeth, I think I'll reply, "Antarctica." Let her figure it out.
|"If you need me, I'll be hiding behind the wall near the|
Shelia's daughter Connie has her own issues -- sex, drinking, sex and drinking being the mainstays. She's already played hooky
|Momentarily possessed by Satan,|
Connie attempts to suck Sheila's soul
Connie's taken on a bestial three-week spree that, according to an examining doctor, leaves her in a state of "psychosomatic." Someone take away his license to practice English. Col. Martin is no better, using the word "psychohysteria," a word that isn't even in the dictionary.
|"I knew I should have quit smoking!"|
On its face, Allotment Wives was something of a comedown for former A-star Kay Francis (Sheila Seymour). On the proto-feminist side, however, it was part of her three-movie production deal with Monogram Pictures, a rare case of a woman calling the shots in Hollywood, then or now. Perhaps the role of a woman bossing a roomful of men resonated with her, even if Sheila was a criminal. At her 1930s peak, however, Kay Francis was Warner Brothers' number one lisping leading lady, possessing a neurotic sexiness I find sickly irresistible.
Co-star Paul Kelly (Col. Pete Martin) had his own real life brush with the law two decades earlier, serving time at San Quentin for manslaughter (a drunken fistfight over a jane, of course). The woman at the center of the altercation, Dorothy Mackaye (later Kelly's wife) served time as an accomplice. Her jailhouse memoirs eventually became the basis of the previously-discussed Lady Gangster. Everything's connected on this damn blog.
Movies like Allotment Wives and Rubber Racketeers should put to rest the myth that World War II made every American citizen a true-blue patriot who gave all to defeat the Axis. As one cop describes the gang, "They're like Japs and Germans: rotten to the core and incurable!" Sheila's silk pajamas even sport an absurdly large SS monogram for no reason other than to suggest Nazis (unless she likes being reminded of her initials when she's asleep). Good for Kay Francis for sticking her neck out by playing a such a despicable, nasty, unpatriotic woman. Damn, is she sexy.
Personal aside: At one time or another, the original posters for Allotment Wives and Rubber Racketeers graced our dining room wall. You should have seen the look on my wife's face when she first saw them. Talk about psychohysteria!
To read about Rubber Racketeers, click here.
To read about Lady Gangster, click here.