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Coquette (1929)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 6 April 1929 (USA)
A flirtatious southern belle is compromised with one of her beaus.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the stage production by), (based on the stage production by) | 3 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Michael Jeffery (as John Mack Brown)
...
Stanley Wentworth
...
Dr. John Besant
William Janney ...
Jimmy Besant
Henry Kolker ...
Jasper Carter
...
Robert Wentworth
Louise Beavers ...
Julia
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jay Berger
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Storyline

Norma Besant, daughter of a Southern doctor, is an incorrigible flirt and has many boys on her string. She begins to favor Michael Jeffrey, who, shiftless and hot-tempered but fundamentally honorable, is warned off by her father. When Michael returns after a long absence, the pair are innocently compromised, and Dr. Besant's old-South paternal rage brings tragedy. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A new Mary with boyish bob and flirty eyes - Coquette is the crowning achievement of her career. (Newspaper ad). See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 April 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coqueta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$489,106 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Pickford's first sound film. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Wentworth: Why don't you marry me, Norma?
Norma Besant: Stanley, you're a dear.
Stanley Wentworth: Oh, I know you've heard it so often it's beginning to sound like an echo. But, I do, so, mean it.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Twentieth Century (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

NOBODY KNOWS DE TROUBLE I'VE SEEN
(uncredited)
Traditional spiritual
Arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh (1917)
Sung in part by uncredited actor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A museum piece
16 May 1999 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

Taken strictly as entertainment, "Coquette" has conspicuously little going for it. By any standard it is a stodgy, dull and uncommonly boring film. As a museum piece it has rather more going for it. If nothing else it shows what even superstars of the Pickford calibre had to put up with in the earliest days of sound. Clearly everyone concerned was treating the new medium somewhat gingerly, and Pickford cannot be blamed for playing it safe. She chose a property that had already proved itself on the stage (with Helen Hayes in the lead)and provided her with a fine opportunity to emote like mad and chew up scenery.

And that proves its undoing. With a dated stage technique to draw upon, Pickford's declamatory style comes over as something from the stone age. But it unquestionably would have been more impressive to 1929 audiences, who were themselves grappling with the new technology. The film itself was a big hit, and received its share of critical praise.

The plot is ludicrous, and does come over as a filmed stage play. Pickford is much too old for her role, and most of the other characters are either caricatures or one dimensional. (I particularly like one scene where the action is interrupted by two Charleston champions who stop by to demonstrate their latest steps, oblivious to Pickford's hair tearing histrionics.) And when Pickford rushes through the town to be near her dying beloved the laughter is hard to avoid.

For all its obvious deficiencies, "Coquette" has a certain historic importance, and it gives an insight into what passed for drama (or soap opera) in 1929. Did Pickford deserve her Oscar? Probably. It's hard to tell; this sort of grand gesturing was already on the wane, but it still passed for great acting at the time. "Coquette" does not add to Mary Pickford's mystique, but it doesn't detract from it either. If it's not exactly entertainment, it's still of interest.


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