Good Girls Go to Paris

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Good Girls Go to Paris
Directed byAlexander Hall
Written by
Based on"Miss Aesop Butters Her Bread"
by Lenore Coffee and
Produced byWilliam Perlberg
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byAl Clark
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 30, 1939 (1939-06-30)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States

Good Girls Go to Paris is a 1939 American romantic comedy film starring Melvyn Douglas and Joan Blondell.


Jenny Swanson (Blondell) is a waitress in a small college town whose dream is to go to Paris by any means necessary. She confides her plan for a little gold-digging and blackmail to Ronald "Ronnie" Brooke (Douglas), a professor on exchange from England. Brooke tries to dissuade her, telling her that "good girls go to Paris, too".

Her first attempt ends badly. Although she attracts rich Ted Dayton Jr., his father refuses to pay her off, insisting she back up her claim that she has a written marriage proposal. When she does not produce it, the father threatens her with the police, unless she agrees to leave town and never come back. She tells Brooke she had the letter in her purse, but at the last moment, could not bring herself to take it out. Brooke advises her to go home, then reveals that he is getting married in New York City and returning to England. Jenny starts to buy a ticket home, but then decides to go to New York instead.

At the train station, she runs into Brooke and his fiancée's brother, Tom Brand (Alan Curtis). She and Tom become acquainted on the train. He likes her very much, even after she tells him all about her blackmail attempt. In New York City, he takes her to nightclub after nightclub. At one, she encounters Tom's mother Caroline, out with her boyfriend Paul Kingston. At another, she spots Sylvia Brand (Joan Perry), Brooke's fiancée, dancing with medical student Dennis Jeffers, whom Sylvia has known since childhood. Jenny eavesdrops and learns that Sylvia is in love with Dennis, but fears being disinherited by her very wealthy grandfather Olaf if they married (Dennis is the son of the family butler). She also discovers that Tom owes $5000 in gambling debts to Mr. Schultz.

After Jenny brings a drunk Tom home very late at night, she encounters Caroline sneaking in. They wake up an irritable, ailing Olaf, so Caroline introduces her as Sylvia's friend from college. Jenny prescribes traditional Swedish remedies, which soon make Olaf much pleasanter. When Brooke shows up the next morning, he is flabbergasted to find she is a houseguest ... and one of Sylvia's bridesmaids. She soon becomes a great favorite of Olaf's. He would be very pleased to have Tom marry her.

Crises abound. First, Schultz comes for his money. Jenny keeps him from seeing Olaf, who knows nothing about Tom's debt, and promises to pay him tomorrow. Next, Dennis injures a man while driving; Sylvia is a passenger and gives her name as Jenny Swanson to avoid scandal. She asks Jenny to play along, so Jenny demands $5000 to do it. That takes care of Tom's IOUs. When she learns that Paul and Caroline plan to elope, Jenny arranges it so that Caroline learns the truth: that Paul is only after her wealth. Then, Olaf announces Tom and Jenny's engagement at his party. Finally, an attorney representing the injured man barges in to speak to Olaf, followed a little later by the Daytons, who have their own quarrel with Olaf. Olaf gathers his family together to figure out what is going on. Eventually, everything is straightened out: Sylvia gets Dennis, and Brooke gets Jenny.


The movie was originally intended to star Charles Boyer and Jean Arthur, but Boyer rejected the offer to star in Love Affair.[1]

Jean Arthur pulled out first, followed by Boyer. (Source: Jean Arthur; the Actress Nobody Knew by John Oller)



New York Times reviewer Frank Nugent was of the opinion that the cast was trying too hard, and "the general effect, consequently, is not so much that of an appeal to the humorous instinct of the onlooker as an attack upon it".[2] P. S. Harrison rated it "a pretty good comedy" and advised exhibitors: "It should go over with the masses, for the light story presents no problems".[3]


  1. ^ Swindell, Larry. Charles Boyer: The Reluctant Lover (first ed.). Garden City, N.Y. p. 130. ISBN 0385170521.
  2. ^ Frank S. Nugent (June 23, 1939). "In the Farce Vein Is 'Good Girls Go to Paris,' at the Music Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  3. ^ P. S. Harrison (July 1, 1939). "Good Girls Go to Paris". Harrison's Reports. XXI (26): 102 – via Internet Archive.

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