The Purchase Price

Rated 3.0

Between the years 1930 and 1934, William Wellman directed two dozen films. What I’m trying to say here is that Rainer Werner Fassbinder can suck it. The middling rom-com The Purchase Price, starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent, is one of six that Wellman made in the calendar year 1933. It’s not the best of his career (that would be the screwy 1937 comedy Nothing Sacred), or even the jewel in Turner Classic Movies’ Forbidden Hollywood, Volume Three, a collection of six “pre-Code” Wellman pictures (that would be the electric Wild Boys of the Road). The Purchase Price does show Wellman’s flair for fast-paced storytelling, even in such a lowbrow, hackneyed vehicle—the transitions from Manhattan nightclubs to Montreal hotel rooms to the wheat fields of North Dakota feel strangely natural.