6.8/10
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Passion Flower (1930)

Passed | | Drama | 6 December 1930 (USA)
A bored society woman invites scandal and heartache when she falls in love with her low-born chauffeur.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(as Kathleen Norris' 'Passion Flower'), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dulce Morado
...
Katherine Pringle 'Cassy' Wallace
...
Dan Wallace
...
Leroy Pringle
...
Antonio Morado
...
Mrs. Harney
...
Tommy Wallace
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Storyline

A bored society woman invites scandal and heartache when she falls in love with her low-born chauffeur.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 December 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flor da Paixão  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Dulce Morado: There are too many roads in the world already. They're confusing. Sometimes its hard to tell which one to take.
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User Reviews

 
Is there no honor among cousins?
14 November 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is technically a precode, although you never see anything happen that is precode, just some precode ideas.

I loved Charles Bickford and Kay Johnson in Dynamite, and I guess that's because there you had two people from different worlds thrown together while their feelings for one another slowly build. Here Bickford plays Dan Wallace, a chauffeur, who falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy man, Cassy Pringle (Kay Johnson). When the film opens they are already in love, so there goes the chance to see the chemistry build again. When Cassy's father finds out, he orders Dan out of his house, and Cassy goes with him, with them marrying the next day. Dan has no trade, so the entire family lives in a cheap attic apartment while Dan works as a stevedore and in five years only rises to assistant supervisor of the other stevedores. Meanwhile he and Cassy have had two children who have no place to play in their cramped apartment that has been their home for the entirety of their marriage. Then Dan loses his job at the beginning of the Great Depression. Cassy's cousin is Dulce (Kay Francis), who married a much older but wealthy man whom she does not love, played by Lewis Stone. Dan and family move to a farm that Dulce wanted to give to them five years before on their wedding day, but now Dan's pride is all gone and he accepts the gift for the sake of his family. Dan is a man feeling like a disappointment as a provider and needing a boost to his pride, Dulce is a woman who has plenty of money but no passion in her loveless marriage. Complications ensue. I'll let you watch and find out what happens.

Everybody does a splendid job in this film. Kay Francis is great as a spoiled brat who thinks she should get everything she wants without actually coming out and saying that. Charles Bickford effectively portrays a man who is torn and who feels like a disappointment to his family. He often acts because he feels he "owes" people, and in the end his actions just make everybody unhappy. He didn't want material charity, why would he think the women in his life would want emotional charity? Kay Johnson gives a very subtle portrayal as the rich girl just happy to give it all up and stand by the poor man she loves, come what may. Winter Hall plays Cassy's dad, and he doesn't have much time on screen, yet he is a perfect portrait of pre-Depression Calvinism - he believes that rich people are intrinsically better than working people, and looks down upon them. The Great Depression is about to teach them otherwise - for awhile. Zasu Pitts is the comic relief as first Dan and Cassy's landlady and then when they move to the farm, their housekeeper? That is a transition I could never figure out, but she is needed comic relief for what is almost completely a heavy melodrama.

Just some background, Charles Bickford hated this film, calling it "melodramatic claptrap" in his autobiography. He felt he had been somewhat baited and switched by MGM, starting with the interesting "Dynamite" and then being forced to make this film instead of being loaned out to RKO, where he was wanted to play the leading role in "Cimarron". Also, the director of this film, William de Mille, brother of the great Cecil B., did not like directing sound films and only did a couple more after this. Also, Kay Johnson had been and maybe still was infatuated with Kay Francis at the time this film was made. So if things seem a bit awkward between the players, and if the direction seems a bit stilted, there is probably good reason.

Still, it's a pretty good study in human nature, so I'd recommend it.


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