IMDb > A Free Soul (1931)
A Free Soul
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A Free Soul (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.7/10   1,324 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Adela Rogers St. Johns (from the book by)
John Meehan (dialogue continuity)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for A Free Soul on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 June 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
She wasn't a divorcee but she believed that strangers could kiss! See more »
Plot:
An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
I think the world of the acting, the story, and the modern issues so plainly confronted See more (32 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Norma Shearer ... Jan Ashe

Leslie Howard ... Dwight Winthrop

Lionel Barrymore ... Stephen Ashe

Clark Gable ... Ace Wilfong

James Gleason ... Eddie
Lucy Beaumont ... Grandma Ashe
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roscoe Ates ... Man Shot at in Men's Room (uncredited)
Ann Brody ... Hamburger Saleslady (uncredited)
Edward Brophy ... Slouch (uncredited)
James Donlan ... Reporter (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Birthday Party Guest (uncredited)
Francis Ford ... Skid Row Drunk (uncredited)
Henry Hall ... Detective in Raid (uncredited)

George Irving ... Johnson - Defense Attorney (uncredited)
Edward LeSaint ... Judge (uncredited)
Sam McDaniel ... Casino Valet (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Court Clerk (uncredited)
Frank Sheridan ... Prosecuting Attorney (uncredited)
Phillips Smalley ... Birthday Party Guest (uncredited)
William Stack ... Dick Roland (uncredited)
Larry Steers ... Ed - Casino Official (uncredited)
Carl Stockdale ... Drug Store Proprietor (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... One of Ace's Gang (uncredited)
E. Alyn Warren ... Bottomley - Ace's Chinese Butler (uncredited)
Claire Whitney ... Aunt Helen (uncredited)

Directed by
Clarence Brown 
 
Writing credits
Adela Rogers St. Johns (from the book by)

John Meehan (dialogue continuity)

Becky Gardiner (adaptation)

Willard Mack  play (uncredited)

Produced by
Clarence Brown .... producer (uncredited)
Irving Thalberg .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
William H. Daniels (photographed by) (as William Daniels)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Dorian .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Anstruther MacDonald .... sound recording engineer (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Milton Brown .... still photographer (uncredited)
A. Lindsley Lane .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Nelson McEdwards .... assistant camera (uncredited)
William Riley .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Hugh Wynn .... film editor
 
Music Department
William Axt .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Howard Dietz .... press representative (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
93 min (Turner library print)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | USA:TV-PG | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film ranked as ninth best picture in 1935 by the annual Film Daily poll of critics.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: At 21:19, we see that gangsters are approaching, but with the car backs into the alley, too much time goes by before the gangsters actually pass by.See more »
Quotes:
Jan Ashe:Tell me, Eddie. Has he been drinking?
Eddie:Well... uh...
Jan Ashe:A lot?
Eddie:Well, it wouldn't be a lot for a camel or one of them things.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Hollywood: The Great Stars (1963) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
By the River Sainte MarieSee more »

FAQ

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
I think the world of the acting, the story, and the modern issues so plainly confronted, 29 January 2010
Author: secondtake from United States

A Free Soul (1931)

Clark Gable says, "I'm telling you." And Norma Shearer, dressed in a sexy silk dress, replies, "Oh no, you're not. Nobody is."

That sums up this astonishing movie. I can't believe A Free Soul is so little known, or that so many viewers don't get the depth of its meaning then...and now. Throw in three of the most amazing actors of the early 1930s--Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, and Norma Shearer--and you can't help be impressed, and moved, and intrigued. It's about strength of character (three or four characters, in fact). It's about being a modern person, and having modern problems. And it's about facing them, openly, honestly.

So what holds it back? Well, for one thing, it has a lot of talk, a lot of simple dialog about some very not simple things. If you accept the characters and their need to talk, you will see a very honest confrontation with alcoholism, and with what is at first a kind of sex addiction, or what is later developed to be simply unbridled love for a man outside of marriage. But the parallel between two temptations is real, and rather powerful, and the sacrifices each of the two afflicted characters make is intense. Barrymore (as the one nipping the bottle) and Shearer (as the one too much in love, or in love with lovemaking) play their parts perfectly. They have moments of extraordinary clarity, and moments of abandonment. And they confront each other in a way that is completely reasonable.

There are other aspects here worth at least lifting an eyebrow at, namely the very close relationship, almost as platonic lovers, between these two. Gable as a lovable but brutal and deceptive gangster is perfect, too--gorgeous and hard, charming and untrustworthy. The milieu is well developed, from barroom to hotel room to courtroom. This isn't a Warner Brothers knock-you-out crime film, it isn't even Three on a Match, for an example of a compromise between a woman's picture and a gangster flick. It's a heady drama, beautifully laid out and progressively involving, with director Clarence Brown (famous for a whole string of such interpersonal, romantic dramas over several decades) knowing what makes a film really matter.

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