When it was originally released in April 1930, Strictly Unconventional ran 72 minutes, but, by the time it found its way to New York City in July 1930, (for a one day showing on a double bill at Loew's), MGM had cut it to 54 minutes, and this is the version which survives today on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
This turgid screen version of Somerset Maugham's "The Circle" suffers not only from the dated story, but from performances by seasoned silent performers who seem absolutely overwhelmed by the sound equipment. The first scene suffers as the juveniles insist of making sure their emotions can be read in the second balcony. Even Lewis Stone seems ill at ease, until Ernest Torrence and Alison Skipworth come on.
Torrence is a delight, complaining about his dentures, and Skipworth is wonderful. The camera is not quite immobile, but it does move leadenly -- quite appropriately in following Torrence, but it does move rapidly when needed to maintain composition -- something that modern film makers don't seem to think important But Lewis Stone's register runs all over the place, overacting in antique style even for 1930 with the youngsters, and fairly natural with Torrence and Skipworth. The total effect is bad.
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