Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
Trial Marriage is a late silent movie (it was also done as a talkie) with much of the charm of Hollywood films before the Production Code neutered the studios in 1934. Playgirl Connie (Sally Eilers) drops her devil-may-care fiancé Oliver (Norman Kerry) when she falls in love with Thor (Jason Robards Sr) and steals him away from socialite Grace (the tragic Thelma Todd). The film follows various marriages, infidelities and misunderstandings (think When Harry Met Sally) until the four settle into what should have been the proper marriages all along. The dialog (on cards) is very direct and modern. The real pleasure for this reviewer was watching Sally Eilers, a willowy, dark-eyed brunette who is so forthright in her emotions and absolutely sexy in the way she moves and caresses her lover. Despite the 82 years that have gone by since this film was made, she's as contemporary as any actress today. I was mesmerized. But somehow, although Sally Eliers continued to work for another decade, she never quite made the successful transition to sound. I haven't seen the sound version, but I've been told it's missing some of the scenes included here.
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