Jerry and Ted are young, in love, and part of the New York 'in-crowd'. Jerry's decision to marry Ted crushes a yearning Paul. Distraught Paul gets drunk and wrecks his car, disfiguring young Dorothy's face in the process. Out of pity, Paul marries Dorothy. Years later, the apparent perfect marriage of Ted and Jerry falls apart from infidelity on both sides. Inwardly unhappy, popular Jerry lives a party life while Ted sinks into a life of alcoholism. Jerry then runs into Paul, who still loves her. After spending time together with Jerry, Paul plans to divorce Dorothy. When Jerry sees Dorothy again, she has second thoughts about where her life is heading. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Norma Shearer landing the lead role reportedly did not sit well with Joan Crawford who was also gunning for the role. Reportedly, Crawford never forgave Shearer. See more »
1928 was Jerry's 3rd Wedding Anniversary, yet, the band in the nightclub/speakeasy is playing "Happy Days are Here Again" which was not composed for another year. See more »
Jerry Bernard Martin:
[slipping on a diamond ring]
Oh, I couldn't think of accepting such a valuable gift!
But, my dear, my feeling for you is purely platonic.
Jerry Bernard Martin:
Really? I've heard of platonic love, but I didn't know there was such a thing as platonic jewellery.
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Fast, advanced sound and naturalistic acting, and modern themes...terrific!
The Divorcée (1930)
The start of this is such a busy, overlapping party scene in a country house, you can't help but get swept up in it. And if some of the acting or a few of the quips are not perfect, the best moments are really fun and spirited. The naturalism is really refreshing, and pace fast, and the dialog real. Then it spins out of control--the events, not the movie--and before fifteen minutes are up, there's a brief terrible moment that has two or three of the actors exploring an hysteria that a method actor would be proud of. It's intense, great stuff. Get at least that far in.
The rest of the movie follows suit, through quiet and fast moments, and the drama turns to melodrama and back, all pinned together by the ever convincing Norma Shearer. The themes--fidelity and infidelity, love and friendship, the superficial versus the things that matter--give it all something to chew on or laugh at at ever turn.
It's unnecessary to say that this is just two years after the full advent of sound, and it's a very developed, mature element in the movies. In fact, the density of things going on would never have been possible with intertitles, and it must have been a revelation to audiences and movie makers equally. Fast dialog and overlapping events are a natural extension of the theater, of course, but with the ability to shift scenes and zip down wooded roads with the camera is the essence of cinema.
So, in all, for how it's made, for the acting (the best of it), and for the serious, important themes, this is gem, an amazing movie, whatever its hiccups and flaws here and there. I wouldn't miss it.
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