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Norman Z. McLeod
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A spoiled young rich girl is sent to prison for accidentally running down a pedestrian. There she learns about a life and people she had never even imagined existed before. Upon her release, she realizes that she is in love wiht the District Attorney who reluctantly prosecuted her case, a man who was in love with her but who she had previously scorned. Written by
Depression moviegoers got a 2-for-1 treat with this melodrama. A festive romance, complete with water skiing and dance parties highlight the first half. An effective and convincing set up for the 'manslaughter' to follow.
Claudete Colbert is mesmerizing as the unrepentant poor-little-rich-girl Lydia Thorne. She is too busy enjoying life's party to feel her conscience, bribing a cop rather than accept a speeding ticket. And when her maid is convicted of stealing her jewels, Lydia's bridge game is more important than a kind word to the judge. A word that would bring years of freedom to her maid's life.
Enter straight shooting District Attourney Dan O'Bannon (Frederic March). He's busy schmoozing political heavyweights with "equal justice for rich and poor" when he falls under Lydia's spell.
Miss Colbert literally sparkles in Archie Stout's photography. Principally backlit, her satin gown and diamond necklace shimmer in the star filter and complete the trap for O'Bannon and viewer alike. Lots of overhead and dolly shots keep the eye-candy coming. This beautifully mounted production gives no clue why Mr. Stout would be doing the cheapo John Wayne westerns 3 years later. Amazingly, Archie Stout would go onto shoot the sumptuously photographed Angel And The Badman for Wayne years later! An automobile accident (not a run over pedestrian as suggested above) triggers the second half of the film and the regeneration of our heroine, and not without delicious plot twists and turns.
Great performances and production make this a must see for the avid talkie buff. And Claudette Colbert fans will be well pleased to find her already in top gear.
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