If you’ve ever lived in a small town, I’m sure you know how wildly the gossip can fly sometimes. As Ruth Brock (Nancy Carroll) is about to find out, Marysville is no exception. Ruth is a flirtatious banker who enjoys going out dancing with the boys, but she’s never a bad girl. All the guys in town are after her, including the rich playboy Romer Sheffield (Cary Grant), widely thought to be the most dangerous guy in town. Her mother would much rather see her settle down with her childhood friend Bill Fadden (Randolph Scott), who has just come back to town and is staying at the Brock’s house for the night. Ruth couldn’t care less about what her mother wants and when Romer Sheffield has a party at his house one Saturday, she gladly goes with Conny (Edward Woods) as her date. But once they get to the party, she spends some time alone with Romer. Even though nothing happens, Conny becomes immensely jealous. Later, Conny and Ruth go for a late-night boat ride and when Conny makes a move on her, she turns him down and walks back to Romer’s house. She stays with Romer for a few hours before his chauffeur drives her home.
Ruth’s friend Eva sees her come home in his car and immediately assumes the most scandalous possibility. Once Eva talks to Conny and finds out how long Ruth spent with Romer, rumors tear through Marysville like wildfire and destroy Ruth’s life. People shun her, her mother is furious at her for disgracing the family, and she even loses her job at the bank. Not knowing what else to do, she goes out to where Bill is working to see him. He declares his love for her and they decide to get married ASAP. Ruth’s family is happy, her friends are happy, and Ruth is happy again. But when Bill finally hears about the vicious rumors going around about Ruth, they get into a big fight and Ruth heads back to Romer’s place and decides to live up to her reputation. Bill comes to apologize the next day, but she decides to break it off with him.
I really enjoyed Hot Saturday. Absolutely worth checking out. It’s definitely a movie that’s aged pretty well. Not only has gossip not gone anywhere in the past 78 years, but considering how stories keep turning up in the news about people losing their jobs over things they say in their blogs or on Facebook, I’d say it’s just as relevant as ever. Nancy Carroll gave a great performance and gets a lot of help from a great supporting cast. I was impressed by how much Cary Grant had improved since Blonde Venus, especially since he made Hot Saturday right after Blonde Venus. He seemed much more confident here. Either William A. Seiter gave him more direction than Josef von Sternberg did or Cary had done a lot of work coming into his own, I’m not sure which, but it was a step in the right direction.