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Beautiful manicurist Nancy Carroll (as Hallie Hobart) sets her sights on handsome Philips Holmes (as David Stone), the son of wealthy wheat farmer Hobart Bosworth (as Ezra Stone). Professing to hate men, Ms. Carroll is only interested in luring Mr. Holmes in for a lucrative business deal. Holmes easily falls in love, but older brother James Kirkwood (as Mark Stone) brands Carroll a low-life gold-digger. To get even with the straight-laced Stone family, Carroll accepts Holmes' marriage proposal. Then, while Carroll and the family negotiate the cost of her departure, she falls unexpectedly in love
Well, make that expectedly "The Devil's Holiday" is a creaky, but worthwhile "early talkie" drama. First of all, it features Carroll's second-place finishing "Academy Award" performance as "Best Actress" (Norma Shearer won for her "Divorcée"). At the time, Carroll was a considered a "new" talking pictures star; in that respect, she was the first "talkie"-dominant actress to move in on the "Quigley Poll" top ten list of established "silent" stars. Carroll was #10 in 1929, and seemed assured of super-stardom with the new dramatic range she showed in "Devil's Holiday" (where she displayed real sweat and tears).
Holmes is also at his best, playing the love-struck rich kid with wide-eyed innocence. And, he gets one of those great "smacked on the staircase" scenes. Holmes falls in love three times in this movie, but only for Nancy Carroll. She and Holmes had great chemistry, as you'll see; and, box office returns dictated they would be re-teamed fairly quickly (for the close to, but not quite "Stolen Heaven"). Writer/director Edmund Goulding manages well considering it was early 1930. You also get two pioneer players, Messrs. Kirkwood and Bosworth, in featured roles; and, the minor cast members are used very well.
******* The Devil's Holiday (5/9/30) Edmund Goulding ~ Nancy Carroll, Phillips Holmes, James Kirkwood, Hobart Bosworth
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