Coquette (1929)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  6 April 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,621 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 9 critic

A flirtatious southern belle is compromised with one of her beaus.



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Her first 100% talking picture. (Newspaper ad). See more »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 April 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coqueta  »

Box Office


$489,106 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Pickford was initially horrified to hear her recorded voice for the first time in "Coquette": "That's not me. That's a pip squeak voice. It's impossible! I sound like I'm 12 or 13!" See more »


Norma Besant: I'll tell you somethin' I never told any other man, ever! Just the way you are, now, you'll be the best lookin' man there. Now, will you come?
Michael Jeffery: No.
Norma Besant: Well, you're the first man I ever told that to the just didn't naturally melt away.
Michael Jeffery: I reckon I'm different from the other men - you've never told that to.
See more »


Edited into American Experience: Mary Pickford (2005) See more »


(1851) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played during the opening credits
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User Reviews

Mary Pickford Wins an Oscar
18 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Broadway play COQUETTE ran for a year in the late 20s, starring Helen Hayes. Mary Pickford hoped that this vehicle would be a solid entrance into the new sound medium as well as scuttle her "little Mary" image that had plagued her for the last decade.

At age 37, Pickford is too old to play Norma Besant, BUT she looks great so the age factor is not really a problem. The problem is the play. It's creaky and far-fetched and doesn't work as a late 20s film. The fault is not with Pickford, who turns in a terrific performance although in a few spots it all gets rather stagy.

Also very good is Johnny Mack Brown as Michael. He exhibits some real fireworks in the argument scene with Pickford's father (John St. Polis). But these 2 good performers can't save the film from the rotten acting of St. Polis (he plays a despicable character) and William Janney who plays brother Jimmy. Matt Moore plays a sad-sack suitor to no great effect, and Henry Kolker is over the top as the prosecuting lawyer.

The screenplay is probably too close to the stage play, and director Sam Taylor seems to have absolutely NO ear for dialog or eye for composition.

Despite the antiquated story about southern pride and the value of truth, Pickford and Brown are well worth watching. Louise Beavers is also good as the maid. The court room scenes are solid with Pickford giving a terrific performance as the irony of the murder become clear. Her final scene, walking from the court house and down the street is quite memorable in its beauty and simplicity.

Yes, Mary Pickford won an Oscar for this performance, but the award is likely for the 20 years of films and superstardom she brought to this talkie debut. She was the biggest star in films for many, many years and deserved the Oscar for this brave performance, even if the film itself is not terribly good.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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