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Henry B. Walthall
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One of two Norma Talmadge talkies to have survived - she retired forever from the screen after making only three (the fun had gone out of film making for her) - this is a slowly paced, gritty underworld drama but the plot is ultimately quite unconvincing.
Joe Prividi (John Wray) is a mobster who also happens to be backing a Broadway show. He has the hots for his leading lady, Jill Deverne (Talmadge), who only has eyes for her song-writer husband, Fred (Gilbert Roland). Prividi engineers a chorus girl into Fred's drunken arms at a speakeasy one night and arranges for a raid. Jill won't believe her husband to be innocent and she dumps him. Months later she is Prividi's mistress and after a shooting during a party is taken along with Prividi to the police station. There she discovers her husband, a down and out tramp without her. They patch up their differences and plan to escape New York to begin life anew, but Prividi has other plans for Fred.
Norma Talmadge reveals a natural acting style, as if she has been stage-trained. Her voice is well modulated and natural and her facial expressions are subtle. This is not a great role or showcase for her but she manages quite well and one can see no obstacles to her looking forward to a successful career in talking pictures.
Gilbert Roland is deplorably bad - he was to improve vastly in the coming years but here is thoroughly inept. John Wray plays Prividi a bit over the top but within bounds. Lilyan Tashman gives support as Peggy, Jill's friend and confidante.
The Milestone direction is plodding and stagebound - the microphone was still stationary. There is one song "A YEAR FROM TODAY" - Roland sings it quite badly but Talmadge is not bad as a crooner.
Look for Jean Harlow at the party where the shooting takes place. She is an extra and stands to the left of the screen behind the main door to the room the police enter.
An interesting curio and important for a rare glimpse of a talking Norma Talmadge.
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