Let Us Be Gay
|Let Us Be Gay|
|Directed by||Robert Z. Leonard|
|Produced by||Robert Z. Leonard
|Written by||Frances Marion
|Based on||Let Us Be Gay
by Rachel Crothers
|Edited by||Basil Wrangell|
Let Us Be Gay is a 1930 American pre-Code romantic comedy-drama film produced and distributed by MGM. It was directed by Robert Z. Leonard and stars Norma Shearer. It was filmed concurrently with and based upon the 1929 play by Rachel Crothers starring Tallulah Bankhead, which ran for 128 performances at London's Lyric Theater. Critics generally preferred Tallulah's rendition to Shearer's.
Housewife Kitty Brown (Norma Shearer) doesn’t spend much time on her personal appearance. She is devoted to her husband Bob (Rod La Rocque). Kitty spends all her time seeing that Bob has everything he needs. Bob is embarrassed to be seen with his wife because he considers her dowdy and he doesn’t like the homemade clothes she wears.
Kitty gets a shock when Bob’s latest girlfriend, Helen, shows up at their home. Kitty is polite to Helen and pretends that she has known about the affair all along but secretly she is broken-hearted. She excuses herself to go to her room and cry. Later that evening, she leaves Bob to get a divorce, taking their two children with her.
Three years later, Bob is courting Diane (Sally Eilers). Diane’s grandmother, Mrs. Bouccicault (Marie Dressler), is a leader in local society and disapproves of the match. Mrs. Bouccicault invites Kitty for the weekend. Kitty is now a fashionable, very attractive woman. Mrs. Bouccicault hopes to use Kitty to break Diane and Bob up.
Mrs. Bouccicault asks Kitty to steal a gentleman away from her granddaughter so Kitty flirts with each arriving male guest in turn assuming that each is the gentleman in question.
Bob arrives and is surprised by Kitty’s appearance. They pretend to meet for the first time. The other weekend guests, including Towney (Gilbert Emery), Madge (Hedda Hopper), and Wallace (Tyrell Davis), are baffled by the way Bob and Kitty behave around each other. Kitty continues to flirt with the male guests. She speaks disdainfully of marriage and makes it clear she is happily divorced. Diane has long had an understanding with Bruce (Raymond Hackett), who is also a guest. Bruce loves Diane and is pained to see her with Bob.
Townsend goes to the terrace outside Kitty’s room. She flirts with him. When Bob knocks on the door, Townsend hides. Bob begs Kitty to marry him again. Bob hears a sneeze and discovers Townsend hiding in the bathroom. He leaves through the terrace only to find Wallace waiting. Wallace has brought Kitty a poem. Disgusted and angry, Bob leaves. A few minutes later Mrs. Bouccicault comes to Kitty’s room to announce that Bob has just become engaged to Diane.
The next day, Bob is upset to overhear Kitty making plans for a yachting trip with Towney. Kitty plans on leaving immediately, but her nanny shows up with Kitty and Bob’s children. The children are overjoyed to see their father.
Bob tells Diane he still feels he is married to Kitty. Diane breaks up with Bob. Kitty says she doesn’t want him either. She says goodbye to Bob. He begs for another chance. Again, he asks her to marry him. She tearfully tells him she still loves him and she asks him to take her back.
- Norma Shearer - Mrs. Katherine Brown
- Marie Dressler - Mrs. Bouccy Bouccicault
- Rod La Rocque - Bob Brown
- Gilbert Emery - 'Towney' Townley
- Hedda Hopper - Madge Livingston
- Raymond Hackett - Bruce Keane
- Sally Eilers - Diane
- Tyrell Davis - Wallace Granger
- Wilfred Noy - Whitman, the Butler
- Sybil Grove - Perkins, a Maid
- Mary Gordon - Mrs. McIntyre (uncredited)
- Dickie Moore - Young Bobby (uncredited)
- All primary cast members are deceased.
The film was released on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection.
The film was shot quickly (in 26 days) due to Norma Shearer's pregnancy. 
- The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 by The American Film Institute, c. 1971
- The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Let Us Be Gay
- Let Us Be Gay as produced on Broadway at the Little Theatre, February 19, 1929 to December 1929, 353 performances; IBDb.com