Young Ellen Neal gets work as a servant with the wealthy Fullerton family. She falls in love with the Fullerton's handsome young son. But he leaves her with child, and when she attempts to ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(dialogue), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An American who has lived much of his life outside the country returns to Arizona for the first time in years and encounters villainy.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Ruth Renick, Wallace Beery
Renegades (1930)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Four one-for-all and all-for-one privates in the French Foreign Legion are all in jail for disorderly conduct, but they break out and rejoin their regiment and fight off a band of marauding... See full summary »

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy, Noah Beery
Mantrap (1926)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sexy young manicurist living with her older backwoodsman husband in a small Canadian town finds herself attracted to a young, rich and famous divorce lawyer who comes to town on vacation.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clara Bow, Ernest Torrence, Percy Marmont
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Psychiatrist Dr. Ulrich Metz attempts to drive Daniel Brown to suicide.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Albert MacQuarrie, Kathleen Clifford
Joan of Arc (1948)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In the Fifteenth Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. The fourteen years old farm girl Joan of Arc claims to hear voices from ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, José Ferrer, Francis L. Sullivan
Reckless (1935)
Drama | Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Wealthy Bob Harrison buys all the seats in the theatre to watch Mona Leslie's musical by himself. He loves her, her agent Ned Riley loves her. Conflict ensues.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Franchot Tone
Empty Hands (1924)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Jack Holt, Norma Shearer, Charles Clary
Hula (1927)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The daughter of a pineapple plantation owner in Hawaii sets her sights on a married English engineer.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clara Bow, Clive Brook, Arlette Marchal
War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  

The story of the military unit organized by future U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt and its adventures in Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Noah Beery, Charles Farrell, George Bancroft
The Wolf Song (1929)
Romance | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1840, Sam Lash heads west for adventure. He meets up with some Mountain Men, and they head for the Rockies to trap beavers and cats. In Taos he meets Lola, a beautiful Mexican girl from ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Gary Cooper, Lupe Velez, Louis Wolheim
The Awakening (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The Awakening (1928) is a feature film directed by Victor Fleming.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Vilma Bánky, Walter Byron, Louis Wolheim
The Virginian (1929)
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A good-natured cowboy who is romancing the new schoolmarm has a crisis of conscience when he discovers his best friend is engaged in cattle rustling.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Huston, Mary Brian
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
W.H. Yates
...
Arthur Coakley
...
Richard Fullerton (as Purnell B. Pratt)
...
Mrs. Neal
Charles McNaughton ...
Edwards
Hale Hamilton ...
Judge Samuel Filson
Genevieve Blinn ...
Mrs. Fullerton
...
Hugh's Sister (as Ada Williams)
Edit

Storyline

Young Ellen Neal gets work as a servant with the wealthy Fullerton family. She falls in love with the Fullerton's handsome young son. But he leaves her with child, and when she attempts to gain recognition for her child, the Fullerton family treats her as a blackmailer. But a surprise awaits them all. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

melodrama | based on novel | See All (2) »

Taglines:

Does One Slip Make a Bad Woman?

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En ogift moder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Private Number (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A decidedly UNcommon film!
20 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Granted that this film shows its age and stagebound origins, it nevertheless has a lot to recommend it. Some of its message falls under the rubric of standard-issue moralizing, but it also tells us that the rich and educated have many of the same vices as the poor and uneducated... sometimes even more so. It also offers some unconventional views on topics such as unwed motherhood, social justice, and women's independence.

The lovely Constance Bennett is eminently watchable as Ellen Neal, a young woman fighting against the circumstances of her birth, gender, and economic situation to make something decent of her life. While the chic, sophisticated actress is somewhat cast against type, she manages to create a character who is strong, sympathetic, and believable. Bennett makes us willing to overlook (at least most of the time) the long string of clichés and incredible coincidences that pass as a plot. She delivers a couple of breathtaking speeches about morality and "family values" that made me want to stand up and cheer.

The movie packs an incredible amount of story—some of it quite far-fetched—into less than 90 minutes. It begins with 18-year-old Ellen being arrested in a raid on a speakeasy, where so far she's managed to keep her virtue intact (at least that's what we're told). A sympathetic judge lets her off with the admonition that she's heading down a bad road. Heeding the warning, Ellen eventually manages to find less lucrative but more honest work as the maid for a wealthy upper-crust family, the Fullertons. It turns out, however, that the high-society folk are no better than the speakeasy lowlifes; they swill bootleg whiskey, indulge in wild parties, and all of the men seem to be on the make, particularly for Ellen. Among her pursuers is Hugh, the Fullertons' college-age son (played by an appropriately boyish Lew Ayres). Learning of her disreputable past, Hugh believes Ellen will be an easy conquest, but she fights bravely and eloquently for respect. Eventually, though, the two fall in love.

After Hugh returns to school, Ellen discovers she is pregnant. Receiving no response to her letters to Hugh, she is forced to quit her job and move back with her mother (played with touching sweetness by Beryl Mercer). Following the birth of her son, Ellen contacts Hugh's family. Suspecting a shakedown, Papa Fullerton (played by Purnell Pratt) asks family friend Judge Filson (played by Hale Hamilton) to pay off Ellen and avoid a public scandal at all costs. But Ellen is not looking for money; what she wants is for the Fullertons to acknowledge precisely what they wish to keep secret: her relationship with Hugh and his paternity of her child. She hires a lawyer, the seedy but honest Yates (played to eccentric perfection by Tully Marshall) to press her claim.

Earlier in the film, we learn that as a young man, Judge Filson himself once fathered a child out of wedlock, but that his lower-class lover made no claim on him for fear that she would ruin his social prospects. He does not know what became of his sweetheart and the child he has never seen.

When Judge Filson meets with Ellen, he discovers she's not the conniving gold-digger he'd expected. As a matter of fact, he's quite taken with her and believes her when she insists that Hugh Fullerton fathered her child. Filson encourages Hugh not to repeat his own mistake and to claim both Ellen and the baby. But Hugh's father, as well as his friend Bud, continue to regard Ellen as low-class trash and refuse to allow Hugh to reconcile with Ellen.

Ellen has no choice but to have her lawyer Yates drag the whole issue into court. The trial scene is not to be believed (or missed). Besides some amazing revelations that follow pell-mell one after another, the scene is a hoot from a legal-procedural point of view. I'll not reveal the outcome, but suffice it to say the many, many loose ends do get tied up in tidy fashion.

It's sad that a movie that's so entertaining, so fascinating from a socio-historical perspective, and directed by the great Victor Fleming should be unavailable on video and so rarely shown anywhere. If you have a chance to catch it, don't miss the opportunity.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Common Clay (1930) johnstonsu
Discuss Common Clay (1930) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?