Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yeah, yeah, it's Gable and Howard 8 years before Gone With the Wind, and even then the former makes the latter look like a eunuch. A number of posters seem flummoxed by this little coincidence and by the early-talkie theatricality of this movie. But for its time it really moves and breathes, particularly in the impressive scenes of Norma Shearer and Lionel Barrymore camping in the Sierras, trying and failing to leave their addictions behind and repair their broken relationship.
Technically, this movie may be primitive, but in terms of content and meaning you couldn't get it made today: it's the story of a woman who uses a thug only for her own sexual pleasure, and the baffled and violent way the men in her life react. All three of them are outwardly brilliant and successful -- the lawyer, the gangster, and the rich polo player -- but have their vanity and weakness exposed when confronted with a powerful woman making her own choices. Some of the quieter moments of this movie are pretty devastating.
p.s. strange how the myth that Gable "slaps" Shearer persists... are people really watching this movie? He shoves her back onto a couch twice, and that's it. The real violence is what she does to him by treating him as a boy toy.
19 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?