Plot: Sol Glass (Ferdinand Gottschalk) runs a clothing operation and while times are tough, he manages to remain profitable thanks to his satisfied clients that travel from all over to purchase his goods. The clothes are top of the line, but the clients also remain loyal because of some fringe benefits, beautiful young women supplied by Glass and known as customer girls. These women entertain the clients and do whatever is needed to make sure the sale is complete and the buyer heads back down happy. But Glass is convinced his current crop of customer girls has lost some luster, so he wants new girls and executive Tommy (Regis Toomey) offers up the steno pool as potential replacements for the service. While his idea wins over Glass, Tommy faces an unexpected issue when he realizes his own girlfriend Florence (Loretta Young), is not only in that same pool, but would likely be the most popular choice with clients. As this new plan unfolds and the girls are asked to do whatever it takes to please the clients, how will all of this impact Florence and her fellow steno pool girls?
Entertainment Value: A lot of pre-code movies are eye opening, scandalous pictures, but few can compete with She Had to Say Yes when it comes to the wild and sometimes jaw dropping side of early 30s cinema. This is pure melodrama, but is insanely fun and just needs to be seen to be believed, especially the finale that is likely to make you feel like your brain has melted a little. The men of She Had to Say Yes are not nice guys, to say the least, treating women like toys and engaging in some of the most ridiculous social antics ever. There is some romance here, but it is beyond toxic and the movie makes little effort to smooth out the rough spots, so don’t expect easy answers or nice, tidy narrative elements. To me, that is why the movie is so interesting, as it doesn’t play it safe and goes to some dark places. Perhaps a little too over top at times, but that is again part of the fun, as this is so outlandish, it is hard to believe you’re seeing what you’re seeing, which is a rare experience. I’m sure some will be shocked and offended, with good reason, but I think She Had to Say Yes is a wild ride that is well worth taking, an example of how outrageous pre-code cinema could be.
This one has Loretta Young in a central role and she rises to the challenge as usual, with a likable and sometimes wild performance. Those wild moments are immense fun, as Young embraces the out of character instances and goes a little over the top. I almost wish those happened more often, but Young still has a lot of charm, even if she isn’t allowed to go off the deep end full time here. The leading men provide more than competent efforts, though they’re given unlikable, sometimes nasty characters, so don’t expect to fall for these chaps. Regis Toomey and Lyle Talbot are both rock solid, but Talbot is more of a standout and at least has flashes of romantic potential, tempered by bursts of ruthlessness. The cast also includes Ferdinand Gottschalk, Winnie Lightner, Helen Ware, and Hugh Herbert.