The poor, downtrodden (beautiful, of course) "dutiful" daughter in a London society family falls for a barrister, disguises herself, and takes a job as governess to his son. Adapted from ... See full summary »
The poor, downtrodden (beautiful, of course) "dutiful" daughter in a London society family falls for a barrister, disguises herself, and takes a job as governess to his son. Adapted from the novel, "A Little Flat in the Temple" Written by
What a bore. Every bit the "creaky early talkie", DEVOTION (1931) is stagey and the soundtrack is full of dead air and awkward silences. The story concerns "wallflower" Ann Harding disguising herself as a middle-aged governess in order to get closer to Leslie Howard (whom she secretly loves).
The movie is a chore to sit through. I've never really been a fan of Ann Harding, and she looks ridiculous in her old lady disguise. Seen nowadays, the movie is so preposterous and overdone as to be unintentionally funny. Harding's whole plan comes off as really creepy to a modern audience.
And why is Harding, a daughter in a fairly well-off family, doing chores with the servants while her parents and sisters entertain guests in the parlor? Is she the black sheep of the family? Is it a Cinderella situation?
The movie's not a total loss, however.
Robert Williams's naturalistic acting practically jumps off the screen, in contrast to the rest of the cast. Williams's bright future in Hollywood was cut short when he died shortly after this film's release in 1931. He had a natural way of delivering his lines that really stands out in DEVOTION, even though he only has a few scenes. If nothing else, this film gives viewers a rare chance to see Williams at work.
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