From my class blog at Sex in American Cinema
The world depicted in Our Modern Maidens (1929) was collapsing even as the film was completing production--the Depression ended the era of flappers and college hijinks. Audiences soon lost their taste for stories of the carefree rich. And within a year of the introduction of sound in 1927, they would no longer go to silent pictures. (Our Modern Maidens was filmed without sound, music and sound effects being added later.)
The film's treatment of sexuality is typical of the period: The audience is teased with the image of a woman who is daring and "modern," and refuses to be bound by conventional morality. But of course it's a pose. The female lead can't be allowed to be a truly "bad" girl. Still, there are several elements that would never have gotten past the Code a few years later.
Heiress Billie Brown, (Joan Crawford), is engaged to marry her long-time sweetheart, budding diplomat, Gil Jordan, (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). When Billie goes to see senior diplomat, Glenn Abbott, (Rod La Rocque), about ensuring that Gil get a favorable assignment, Billie and Glenn are undeniably attracted to one another. Gil is likewise attracted to Kentucky Strafford, (Anita Page), Billie's houseguest, who becomes pregnant by Gil. Gil finds that he loves Kentucky, but marries Billie instead. Once Gil finds that Billie really loves Glenn and Billie finds that Gil loves Kentucky, their marriage is annulled and both are paired up with the people they truly love.
In this early scene, Billie sets out to fascinate Glenn because she believes he can advance her fiance Gil's diplomatic career.