Loose Ankles

Loose Ankles is a 1930 sound film and pre-code romantic comedy with songs, produced and released by First National Pictures, which had become a subsidiary of Warner Bros.. The film was directed by Ted Wilde and stars Loretta Young, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Louise Fazenda and Edward Nugent. It was a remake of the 1926 silent film titled Ladies at Play, which had been produced by First National Pictures. Both versions were adapted by Gene Towne from the 1926 play Loose Ankles by Sam Janney.[1] Sam Janney was to direct the film but died in a car crash during production.[2]

Loose Ankles
Loose Ankles 1930 Poster.jpg
Directed byTed Wilde
Written byGene Towne (continuity and dialogue)
Based onLoose Ankles (1926 play) by Sam Janney
StarringLoretta Young
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
CinematographyArthur L. Todd
Music byCecil Copping (uncredited)
Alois Reiser (uncredited)
Jack Meskill
Pete Wendling
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
  • February 2, 1930 (1930-02-02) (Limited)
Running time
66-69 minutes
CountryUnited States


Ann Harper Berry (Loretta Young), a young socialite, receives an inheritance of $1 million from her deceased grandmother. The will stipulates, however, that she will only receive the money after she has been married to someone who meets with the approval of her two prudish aunts Sarah (Louise Fazenda) and Katherine (Ethel Wales) Harper. The will also stipulates that everyone will lose their inheritance if a scandal involving Ann occurs before she is married. In the case of a scandal, the entire estate will be donated to an organization for the welfare of cats and dogs.

Ann, who is furious at being denied the right to marry whom she pleases, decides to create a scandal. She advertises in the paper for an unscrupulous man to compromise her. Gilly Hayden (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) answers the ad and arrives at Ann's apartment. In order to make the affair as scandalous as possible, Ann's maid asks Fairbanks to remove his clothing. Before the newspaper men arrive, Ann's two aunts show up and attempt to force Gilly to marry their niece. Gilly, not wanting to force Ann into marriage, jumps out the window with nothing on but a woman's robe.

By this time, Ann and Gilly, though they had only spent a short time together, have fallen in love. Lint Harper (Raymond Keane), Gilly's roommate, becomes interested when Gilly tells him what happened with Ann. He decides to try to get Ann to marry him in order to get a part of her fortune. He takes her to a nightclub called the Circus Cafe. While there, Ann meets Gilly and her two aunts, who are being escorted by two gigolos (two other roommates of Gilly), who have come to spy on their niece. The aunts become drunk through the machinations of the gigolos, and when the club is raided, they manage to escape with their aid. Ann blackmails her aunts into consenting to her marriage with Gilly, threatening to expose their scandalous behavior at the nightclub if they don't. This leaves the couple free to pursue their romance.



The songs were written by Jack Meskill and Pete Wendling, and the dances were staged by Roy Mack.[3][4]

  • "Loose Ankles" - sung by Inez Courtney
  • "Whoopin' It Up"

Preservation statusEdit

Loose Ankles survives intact, and it has been shown on Turner Classic Movies and is preserved in the Library of Congress.[5]

Home mediaEdit

In early 2012, Loose Ankles was released on DVD by Warner Archive in a double bill with The Naughty Flirt, starring Alice White.


  1. ^ Loose Ankles a Broadway play at Biltmore Theatre Aug. 1926-Jan. 1927
  2. ^ "Janney, Writer for Beechwood, Killed in Crash". Tarrytown Daily News. June 7, 1929. p. 6. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  3. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Loose Ankles
  4. ^ The American Film Institute, Catalog of Feature Films 1921-30, (1971) American Film Institute
  5. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress (<-book title) p.106 c. 1978 by The American Film Institute

External linksEdit