6.1/10
187
10 user 2 critic

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.

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(adapted from his novel by), (screen story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Dick Carmedon
...
Sam
...
Mrs. Claire Collis
...
Stephanie Brown
Walter Walker ...
John Neville Sr.
...
Querido
...
Fifi
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Romance | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

|

Release Date:

24 July 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agrafos nomos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

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.
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User Reviews

 
A movie with an interesting view of marriage as social convention
10 March 2003 | by (NY, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie has a lot of interesting things to say about marriage. Primarily its message is that marriage is a social convention. Women get married because marriage offers "protection." The emphasis in this movie is on social protection: marriage will protect women from malicious social gossip and from other lecherous males.

John Neville (Joel McCrea) asks live-in girlfriend Valerie West (Constance Bennett) to marry him because he's "in love." She says she wants to wait because she wants to be sure that their love will last. When she marries, she wants it "to be for keeps." As she says, "I'm really quite an old-fashioned girl -- well, with some modern decorations." Valerie soon changes her mind when John's sister (played by Hedda Hopper) arranges a boat cruise inviting his father (played by Walter Walker), her former lover (played by Lew Cody), and another girl interested in John. Unable to stand the social awkwardness, the gossip, and the blatant advances of her former beau, Valerie decides that perhaps getting married even though she's not sure it will last is the best way to go after all.

A critique about society's views of women and marriage, this movie also boasts strong performances by Hedda Hopper as John's sister and Walter Walker as John's father. Hedda is particularly good as the nasty, bitchy hypocrite Claire Collis, who does all she can to break John and Valerie up while feigning ignorance about it. Constance Bennett also gives a strong performance as Valerie.

Being that this was a pre-Code and Constance's character was supposed to be a nude model, I had hoped that they might have snuck in some flashes of skin. Unfortunately, they don't. Even the portraits of Constance nude cover up the private areas. There is some nudity in the film though, a long shot of a group of presumably naked women posing on a float during a raucous French party.

Given the performances and the interesting message the movie has, I'd give it a 7/10.


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