Few would rate "Virtue" among Carole Lombard's best movies, but there is enough in this, her first of five films for Columbia, to show that perhaps Harry Cohn saw something in the 23-year-old Carole that her home studio of Paramount didn't (even if what he saw was merely lust for Lombard, which became part of Hollywood lore when she used her power of inventive invective to spurn his advances; they got along well from then on). Without Columbia -- the studio that ultimately gave her the big break she needed with "Twentieth Century" in 1934 -- Lombard might have languished for several years in Paramount purgatory.
We bring this up because the fine site http://pre-code.com/ recently reviewed "Virtue" and, for the most part, had pretty good things to say about the film. (I should also note the writer had some compliments for "Carole & Co.", but don't let that dissuade you from reading it.) The reviewer, Danny, calls the film "surprisingly gritty" and adds,
"'Virtue‘s many little twists keeps it a fun romp, and Carole Lombard’s devious smile and sly dramatic chops never cease feeling like a revelation. ... Thanks to a good script and excellent acting, 'Virtue' is a nice little gem from Columbia."
You can read the review at http://pre-code.com/virtue-1932-review-carole-lombard/.
The site includes plenty of screen caps, of which I'm appropriating a few. Once on board the train following her conviction for prostitution, we see Carole's character...or at least the legs of Carole's character. And I'm pretty sure, as was the case for Claudette Colbert a year and a half later for the hitchhiking scene in "It Happened One Night" (also at Columbia), no leg double was used:
Here's Carole, hiding out at buddy Mayo Methot's place:
Danny put captions on some of these screen caps; here's one I kept because it's so amazingly accurate:
After meeting a taxi driver played by Pat O'Brien, Carole stiffs his fare, but later makes good and gets a legit job:
Not knowing her sordid past, the cabbie falls for and marries the one-time streetwalker...
...but on their wedding night, he discovers the truth about the background of his wife, yet decides to stick with her:
There's more to come in the story, including mistaken identity and a murder, but eventually the couple purchases a service station and the happy ending is hardly subtle:
"Virtue" is part of the Columbia Pictures pre=Code collection, and more on that DVD set can be found at http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/dvd_reviews57/columbia_pictures_pre-code_collection.htm