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A stenographer who works for a lawyer falls in love with and marries a wealthy young man. His family has the marraige annulled, after which she gives birth to a child. Her former boss helps her out to ensure the child's welfare, which starts gossip that she is a "kept woman." Written by
Gloria Swanson originally hired writer/director Edmund Goulding to help her complete Queen Kelly (1929), the unfinished silent epic she'd started with Erich von Stroheim. After he'd spent months editing Von Stroheim's footage, Goulding persuaded Swanson to make this film instead. He wrote the script in three weeks, the movie was in theaters by the end of the year and Swanson recouped enough money to pay off "Queen Kelly"'s backers. See more »
Famous United Artists film from 1929 with Gloria Swanson in her smash-hit talkie debut. I saw this at the George Eastman House in Rochester last week; it has the only known complete print and it's a beautifully restored version.
Swanson stars as a private secretary who marries a wealthy man's son. But their honeymoon is interrupted by the angry father who bullies the son into getting an annulment to "test" Swanson, while they "gussy her up" for their society friends. Swanson storms out but the boy doesn't follow. Later she reads about his marriage to a "proper" girl in Europe. So she decides to never tell him about the baby from their honeymoon night. Later she reads about a terrible accident and the other wife's injuries. But by then Swanson has shacked up with her boss and living off him even though he is married. Everything comes to a head when the boss dies and Swanson tries to go straight but can't make a living to support herself and her baby. Re-enter the first husband, his crippled wife, and treacherous father.
Pure soap but it's very well done and Swanson (with her 2nd Oscar nomination for this gem) is totally great. Opening scene is a long dolly shot moving in toward her office where she has her back to the camera as she types. Her first words are "and how!" as the 'can-do" secretary. Up thru the honeymoon Swanson is bright and funny as the happy bride. She was a terrific comedienne. But when the story turns tragic, Swanson really comes into her element as the suffering mother, the high-living floozy, and finally the contrite penitent.
Robert Ames is the husband, Henry B. Walthall is the office manager, Kay Hammond is the crippled wife, Blanche Frederici is the nanny, Purnell Pratt is the boss, William Holden is the mean father, Henry Armetta is the barber, Mary Forbes is the boss's wife (in fabulous clothes and jewelry), and Stu Erwin shows up as a reporter.
Swanson sings "Love, Your Magic Spell Is Everywhere" and "My Tormented Heart" in the Italian version.
A pity this film will likely never be released on DVD. The Trespasser is a great moment in a great star's career.
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