Play Girl (1941): Starring Kay Francis as Aging Gold Digger

One of Kay Francis’ last movies (she retired in 1946), Play Girl is a romantic comedy, in which she plays an aging gold digger who decides to pass on her skills to a young protégée.

The movie features James Ellison, Mildred Coles, Nigel Bruce, Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Alexander.

Grace Herbert (Francis) is a thirtysomething woman who has made her living by seducing wealthy men and then suing them for breach of promise.

She and her maid Josie (Margaret Hamilton) head to Miami where Grace hopes to find another rich man. When that plan fails, she stumbles upon Ellen Daley (Mildred Coles), a youngster looking for job as secretary. Instead, Grace decides to make the girl her protege, instructing her how to make money from older wealthier.

On the way back, they meet Tom Dice (James Ellison), a cowboy who fixes their flat tire.  While Ellen is attracted to him, Grace dismisses him. Grace introduces Ellen to the vain Bill Vincent (Nigel Bruce), who coaches Ellen on how to get expensive presents from men, including settlement to avoid a lawsuit.

The ladies move on to New York City, where they meet Van Payson (G.P. Huntley), another older wealthy man. While out on a date, Ellen runs into Tom and the two share a cab. He makes arrangements to call on her, but Grace, who still thinks that Tom is “just a cowboy,” criticizes Ellen.

After some research, Grace finds out that Tom is a multi-millionaire, which changes her mind.

When Tom proposes, she needs to think about it, but that night she runs away. With Ellen gone, Grace tries to run her old game on Tom.

Tom’s mother tells Grace that Tom’s uncle, a wealthy cattleman, is in town alone, and tells her that he is a man who needs to settle down and marry a woman who can bring some femininity to his bachelor’s life. When Tom’s mother tells Grace that he’s in the lobby of the building, Grace tells Josie her maid to have him sent up while she gets ready to meet him. As Josie helps her dress, Grace puts on the perfume she uses when she’s seducing a man and says to Josie, “For the last time.”

Kay Francis as Grace Herbert
James Ellison as Thomas Elwood Dice
Mildred Coles as Ellen Daley, Grace’s protégée
Nigel Bruce as William McDonald Vincent, one of Grace’s former conquests
Margaret Hamilton as Josie, Grace’s maid and confidante
Katharine Alexander as Mrs. Dice
G. P. Huntley as Van Payson
Kane Richmond as Don Shawhan
Stanley Andrews as Joseph Shawhan
Selmer Jackson as Fred Dice
Marek Windheim as Dr. Alonso Corivini