Pert Kelly (Colleen Moore) is a vivacious young woman who spends her days working as a department store salesgirl and loves to spend her nights out on the town dancing the night away. Her flirtatious, playful nature leads many to believe that she’s a bad girl, but in reality, she’s a very good girl. While out dancing one night, Pert meets Wintrhop Peabody Jr. (Neil Hamilton) and they fall in love with each other and they make a date for the following night. What Pert doesn’t know is that Winthrop is the son of the man who owns the department store where she works and is about to start working there the next day. Winthrop’s father has also wants him to stay away from the store’s salesgirls.
Due to her late night, Pert is a little late for work in the morning and much to her surprise, sees Winthrop. But when his father realizes there’s something between him and Pert, Winthrop’s father has Pert fired, despite the fact that she’s worked there for two years and was an excellent employee. Obviously, Pert assumes Wintrhop is the one who fired her and is very hurt, but he had nothing to do with it and tries to smooth things over with her by inviting her out again, much to his father’s dismay. His father warns him about how dangerous those wild, young girls can be and Winthrop decides to test Pert to find out whether or not she truly is a good girl.
I saw Why Be Good? for the first time at the 2015 TCM Film Festival and it was most decidedly one of my favorite movie discoveries from the festival. I had never had the pleasure of seeing a Colleen Moore movie before and after just a few minutes of seeing her in this movie, I had absolutely no problem understanding why she was such a popular star. She was an absolute delight to watch; bubbly, charming, and positively effervescent. For a movie that’s nearly 90 years old, Why Be Good? remains remarkably fresh and modern with a great commentary on the double standards for women. This is a great movie to show someone who thinks old movies are all stuffy, dull, and completely detached from the realities of modern life.