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The Common Law (1931)

Passed | | Romance, Drama | 24 July 1931 (USA)
Young Valerie models for an American painter who tries to make a future in Paris and they fall in love.



(adapted from his novel by), (screen story) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Lew Cody ...
Dick Carmedon
Robert Williams ...
Mrs. Claire Collis
Stephanie Brown
Walter Walker ...
John Neville Sr.


Young Valerie models for an American painter who tries to make a future in Paris and they fall in love.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"I don't care what people say...as long as you say you love me!" (print ad)


Romance | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

24 July 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agrafos nomos  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Neville Sr.: You're getting more like your mother every day.
Mrs. Claire Collis: I should think that would make you very happy.
John Neville Sr.: It does. And a little apprehensive.
See more »


Version of The Common Law (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

not much
23 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Common Law," a rather common film for its time, begins with the driving, climactic music of Ferde Grofe's "Metropolis" over the opening credit roll followed by stock footage of Paris. The drama goes downhill from there. This is the old story of the fallen woman who must win the respect of the upright man in her life. The woman in this case is the stylish Constance Bennett, who unfortunately is draped too often in backless gowns which reveal the least attractive portion of her anatomy. She has just broken off a common law arrangement with an older man (Lew Cody, in a convincing portrait of aging dissipation) when she is hired as a model by a wealthy young American expatriate painter (Joel McCrea). Predictably, the young people fall in love but are forced to part when her tainted past becomes known via the gossip circuit. Among the unsavory tattlers are McCrea's plummy older sister (Hedda Hopper) and an alcoholic party boy (the entertaining Robert Williams). The resolution comes about as it always does in these fallen women pix, after much talk, flattering close-ups of the comely young stars and at least one extended scene at a social gathering, usually a night club or house party with lots of live music.

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