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Malcolm St. Clair
Johnny Mack Brown,
When her rich oilman father is killed, Bingo, raised in the wilds of South America, inherits the company. Her guardians Ben and Howard send her to New York for civilizing but on the way she meets Andy, wonderful in every way but wealth. He can't live off her money, he says, as he turns to Marjory. Uncivilized Bingo, who hits anyone she disagrees with, shoots Andy in the arm. Now it's okay for him to marry her. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Untamed is famous for being Joan Crawford's first talkie, a curiosity. I had heard it was only a mediocre film by both fans of Crawford and those who really do not care for her. I was surprised that I liked it so much considering these reviews; Untamed is a good quality early talkie and a bright spot in Crawford's early career.
Crawford plays "Bingo," an untamed girl from the jungles of South America whose father dies, leaving her with a large oil inheritance. Some old friends of the family escort her to New York where she is to live in luxury, but they are startled when she abruptly falls in love with Robert Montgomery. They convince her that there are hundred of men like him in New York; she goes there to find that she yearns for him more than ever. She finds that he misses her too and the two plan to get married, until Crawford's uncle meddles again. The end of this film is quite shocking, and there are plenty of moments to entertain throughout.
Unlike her later 1930s films, Crawford is wild and free here, sort of like a Trilby yet to find her Svengali. Her personality is radiant and she acts much more like a savage than a society girl. This pre-code film has her kicking her legs up to throw up her skirt, sleeping in a man's room, seeing him before he is dressed, drinking large quantities of alcohol during Prohibition, and condoning violence, an unladylike characteristic. Montgomery is terribly handsome in this film, a great romantic lead for Crawford. Perhaps this is the reason they starred in several other films together. The two sing several times here; neither has an outstanding voice, but the music helps add some realism and entertainment to the screen.
Overall, this is not only a curiosity, but a great early film. It does not suffer from the slow pacing, static camera, wordy dialogue, and loud silences that other early talkies did. Be sure to give it a proper chance.
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