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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:
...
...
...
...
Ace Wilfong
...
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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A contemporary magazine described one of the negligees, designed by Adrian, for the film, as follows: "Norma Shearer can well afford to look regal with all of us clamoring for her more loudly than ever. She wears this knockout negligee in 'A Free Soul' which you must see. It's tangerine velvet, girls, with one of those trains that is simply 'tripping'!" The magazine article is describing the negligee Norma is wearing in the famous scene where she stretches out her arms towards Clark Gable and seductively asks, "Come on, put 'em around me." See more »

Goofs

At 3:31, Eddie is putting creamer in the coffee for a second time. See more »

Quotes

Ace Wilfong, Gangster Defendant: I was just wondering what I'd do if you stopped dropping in?
Jan Ashe: Very interesting. You just talked yourself out of the warmest osculation.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.2 (1955) 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

 
Nice Cast Elevates This Shearer Soaper
10 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Norma Shearer slinks and giggles her way through another melodrama, this one noted for not only her but the presence of Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable and Leslie Howard.

Not a bad cast, eh?

The story has a lot to it, too - too much to go into here. It's basically a father-daughter story with the daughter having a good guy and a bad guy both after her, and her taking in all the attention she can get. I've only seen two Norma Shearer films but she played a similar character in both. She's likes to giggle, show off her body and flirt but doesn't want commitments. (The Divorcée was the other film in which I saw her.) For much of this film, this is a gender-reversal with the woman being the "heel."

Barrymore plays her dad, an alcoholic defense attorney. If, for nothing else in this movie, he's remembered for his impassioned speech at the end of the trial. It WILL get your attention! Clark Gable plays the toughie and Howard plays the suave nice-guy both vying for Shearer's love.

There is truth to a number of things in this film such as "Jan Ashe" (Shearer) finding the not-so-nice guy more "exciting" over a genuine gentleman. Why many women are like that - preferring the grubby-looking thug - who knows, but Shearer is good at playing that role. Shearer's Harlow-like attire and no-bra look got my (and Gable's) attention, too.

The movie should be enjoyed by most who like this kind of a melodrama and/or appreciate good acting and a bit of star-gazing.


14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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