6.7/10
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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 »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Eddie
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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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$529,000 (estimated)
 »

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

The film ranked as ninth best picture in 1935 by the annual Film Daily poll of critics. See more »

Goofs

At 21:19, we see that the gangsters are approaching, but when the car backs into the alley, too much time goes by before the gangsters actually pass by. See more »

Quotes

Eddie: [to Jan] It's leopard sweat! You can't trust it!
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 New Kind of Man in a New Kind of World
18 May 2008 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

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.


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