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Friends and Lovers (1931)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  3 October 1931 (USA)
5.4
Your rating:
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 257 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 3 critic

British Army captain Geoff Roberts carries on an affair with Alva, the wife of the cruel Victor Sangrito. Sangrito, however, is well aware of the affair, as he uses his beautiful wife to ... See full summary »

Writers:

(novel) (as Maurice DeKobra) , (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lili Damita ...
Alva Sangrito
...
Lieutenant Ned Nichols
...
Victor Sangrito
...
McNellis
Frederick Kerr ...
General Thomas Armstrong (as Frederic Kerr)
Blanche Friderici ...
Lady Allice
Vadim Uraneff ...
Ivanoff
Jean Del Val ...
Marquis Henri de Pézanne
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Storyline

British Army captain Geoff Roberts carries on an affair with Alva, the wife of the cruel Victor Sangrito. Sangrito, however, is well aware of the affair, as he uses his beautiful wife to lure men into romance with her, then blackmailing them to save their careers. When Roberts falls into Sangrito's trap, he pays the blackmail and leaves for India, hoping to forget Alva, whom he loved but now believes betrayed him. After some time in India, he is joined by his young friend and bosom companion Lt. Ned Nichols. Nichols, too, is in love with a woman back in England...the same woman. Though the two friends nearly come to blows over Alva, they eventually realize that she has been false to them both and that their friendship far outweighs their feelings for a mendacious woman. But when the two are invalided home, they encounter Alva again, and learn that she may not have betrayed them after all. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 October 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wine in the Blood  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the score is credited to both Victor Schertzinger and Max Steiner, in fact Steiner did not write any music for the picture, serving only as Musical Director. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Captain Geoffrey 'Geoff' Roberts: I suppose you will hate me... now.
Mrs. Alva Sangrito: Hate you? I love you more than ever.
[He takes her hand as they gaze into each other's eyes]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Three's Company: Friends and Lovers: Part 2 (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's Erich's movie.
10 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film gets off to a great, weird, very racy Pre-Code start. In the first couple of minutes we are introduced to an adulterous young wife (Lili Damita) and her slimy, sadistic, blackmailing husband (Erich von Stroheim). You can't take your eyes off von Stroheim; his over-the-top performance is not exactly what you'd call great acting, but it gives the film its only real juice. Once he's—literally—out of the picture, we're left with a static, conventional, and uncompelling love triangle.

Others have already commented on Miss Damita's strengths (beauty and sex appeal) and weaknesses (no real acting ability), which I believe is a fair assessment of her contributions. Despite her physical charms, I found it difficult to believe that men would be driven to extremes of jealousy over her... which seriously undermines the main premise of the story. And when she chooses Adolphe Menjou over Laurence Olivier... well, that's REALLY straining the bounds of credibility!

Speaking of hard to believe, there's Hugh Herbert, making a pathetically inept attempt at a Scottish accent. (He went on to become a repeat offender, once again inflicting his bogus burr as Detective John McTavish in 1934's EASY TO LOVE). Herbert's recurring "business" about the women in his life gets very tiresome very quickly.

The biggest liability in the film is Adolphe Menjou, woefully miscast as the man who wins Damita's heart over all her other lovers, including a very young, very handsome Laurence Olivier. Scrawny, pinch-faced Menjou was over forty at the time (he looks even older); ludicrously, he is repeatedly referred to by various characters as "young man." It's obvious that the part was written for a younger, sexier actor. Had they cast someone more appropriate, the story would have had a lot more sizzle.

Though I rated the film only four stars, I'd recommend it to die-hard film buffs. Besides von Stroheim's memorable characterization, it's got a nuanced performance by the young Olivier, the lovely Miss Damita (and her equally lovely wardrobe), and some appealingly quirky scenes and performances. It's not great art, but it's good entertainment.


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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