Cinema: Queen of Tarts

A House Is Not a Home. Polly Adler was a flashy flesh-peddler who flourished in Manhattan during the '20s and '30s and liked to think her establishment was the Versailles of vice. It was indeed a fancy whorehouse. Her furnishings were French antiques. Her customers were bankers, bluebloods, politicians, policemen, racketeers. Her girls were class. Her prices ($20) were competitive. And along with everything else there was Polly, a short, swart woman with crocodilian charm and a heart of ill-got gold.

Polly didn't actually tell all in her bestselling memoirs, which were published...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!