Old Ben Morrison and his daughter, Jen, an unsophisticated girl, live on an island not far from the mainland. Jasper Crane, middle-aged sensualist of the rougher type, bargains with Jen's ... See full summary »
Chorus girl Jill and composer Fred are happily married until he steps out on her with another woman. Tired of his ongoing alcoholism and heartbroken, Jill decides to leave him and live it up, though she must contend with the unwanted advances of a notorious gangster who will stop at nothing to make her his mistress. And when she considers taking Fred back, matters could get deadly fast. Written by
Before putting a pot of coffee on the stove, Jill uses a wooden match to light the burner, while never once looking at the match. She shakes the match to put it out, but it flares up again as she drops it on top of a cabinet next to the stove. She then puts the coffee pot on the burner and walks off camera to look out the window. See more »
[Norma Talmadge's first line of spoken dialogue on film - said down a dumbwaiter shaft to who she thinks is the iceman]
Twenty-five pounds. And don't give my chunk a twice-over shave.
[said up the dumbwaiter shaft after sending up a stolen box of flowers with a note for her birthday]
Good morning, Jill.
Good morning, Mr. Prividi.
Mrs. Deverne, as I wished ya' wasn't.
You stop this silly flower business! Do you hear me?
Why? It's your boithday, ain' it, huh?
Well, who told you to celebrate it?
[...] See more »
This was silent drama star Norma Talmadge's talkie debut, and it flopped at the box office. However, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. Legend has it that Singin in the Rain's Lena Lamont was modeled after Norma, but I have to tell you that I really couldn't detect much of a New York accent in her voice, and her speaking was perfectly fine. She also seemed to understand how to integrate speaking and acting into a cohesive whole. Gilbert Roland was a bit hammy, but if you look at his performances just a couple of years later he improved very rapidly. In fact, the worst performance here - and it's really not that bad - is John Wray as the gangster that is after Norma's character. He plays it way over the top yet he had plenty of roles in talking films for years to come.
The story is pretty routine - Jill Deverne (Norma Talmadge)is married to Fred (Gilbert Roland), a struggling songwriter. Their domestic happiness is threatened by a gangster who is interested in Norma and by a chorus girl who is interested in Fred. Lilyan Tashman plays Jill's friend and does a great job with the catty lines as she stands up for Jill.
The only thing I can figure about the original failure of this film is that people had a certain idea about their silent stars and, for the most part, giving them a voice just took away the magic and made them seek out new faces - Cagney, Blondell, Tracy, and Hepburn among others. Very few weathered the transition and Norma Talmadge was among the many casualties. If you're a fan of the early talkies I recommend you check this one out if you get the chance. It's a rare opportunity to see Norma Talmadge in a film since so very few of her silent films survive. That's too bad since she was one of the most popular dramatic actresses of the silent era.
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