6.7/10
1,706
41 user 18 critic

A Free Soul (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 20 June 1931 (USA)
An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him.

Director:

Writers:

(from the book by), (dialogue continuity) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
Eddie
Lucy Beaumont ...
Grandma Ashe
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Storyline

Stephen Ashe, an upper class alcoholic defense attourney, successfully defends local mobster Ace Wilfong in a murder case. After his daughter Jan Ashe breaks her engagement to polo player Dwight Winthrop and starts an affair with Wilfong, she finds that the liason is not easily severed when she wants out. Winthrop earns Miss Ashe's true affections by killing Wilfong to break his grip on her. Now the question is, can Stephen Ashe save Winthrop with an impassioned defense speech to the jury? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She wasn't a divorcee but she believed that strangers could kiss! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Free Souls  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2002), the movie holds the record for the longest take in a Hollywood film shot in 35mm, the climactic courtroom scene at 14 minutes. Since a reel of camera film only lasts 10 minutes, it was achieved by using more than one camera. See more »

Goofs

As Leslie Howard has confessed and pleaded guilty, he should not be on trial. Trial is only for defendants who plead not guilty. He might have pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to murder, but there is nothing to indicate this. See more »

Quotes

Ace Wilfong, Gangster Defendant: Listen, buddy. Take a tip. Back out! Right now.
See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

By the River Sainte Marie
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played as background music during the restaurant scene
See more »

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User Reviews

A world of addiction
3 December 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I thought A Free Soul an interesting exploration into the world of addiction--father Stephen Ashe, as played by Lionel Barrymore, struggles to balance his career as a defense lawyer and the disastrous effects his alcoholism has on his family and social life. Daughter Jan (Norma Shearer) has a similar problem--but her addiction is to a free and easy lifestyle, with no commitments and no responsibility. Both seem to be ways of dealing with an unspoken loss--perhaps that of a wife and mother. Again, as with all good storytelling, backstory is only hinted at but the characters are rich enough to imply a great deal of history. Refreshing to see Clark Gable as a suave, handsome but ultimately despicable character. A surprising lack of stereotypes for such a film-the Ashes are a patrician, proper family who virtually disown Stephen and his daughter, but they are shown to be intelligent, unique people none the less. A wonderful, melodramatic exploration of the relationship of a father and daughter. Some nice location work for an early talkie.


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