On New Year's Eve, Geraldine ('Jerry') Trent decides to break up with her boyfriend Jim Woodward, having finally grown tired of his dishonesty and his infidelities. Soon afterward, Geraldine meets and falls in love with novelist Anthony Blake. Blake knows that she has had a man in her past, but he is content as long as he never finds out who it was. All seems well until her sister Joan returns from a trip, and happily introduces Woodward as the new man in her life. Written by
Contains an early audio jump cut: Gerry Trent in New York says, "Four-fifteen here. Let's see. Over there it must be ...", which cuts to Jim Woodward aboard ship, saying, "Nine-fifteen - we're away on time." See more »
Swanson's charming personality lights up the screen
Although definitely not a cinematic masterpiece, "Indiscreet" is a pleasant film in the vein of a P.G. Wodehouse farce with many charming moments. The dialog is consistently sharp, often insightful and is similar to the comedic repartee of later films by Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder and Frank Capra. The plot revolves around a coquette, Geraldine Trent (Gloria Swanson), who finds the perfect man (Ben Lyon), only to be tempted by an old flame (Monroe Owsley). The choice she makes is easily predictable to connoisseurs of romantic comedy, but the plot of the film is of secondary importance due to the presence of Gloria Swanson.
Prior to viewing "Indiscreet," I had never seen Gloria Swanson in any other film aside from Billy Wilder's mesmerizing "Sunset Boulevard." To see Swanson in this film -- youthful, vivacious and ravishing -- is to be in awe both of her beauty and her talents as an actress. A far cry from 'one-note' comediennes of the Silent Era, Gloria Swanson's range seems to be that of a modern performer: she imbues an otherwise shallow character with a layered, cheerful and human personality. She is truly a forgotten and sparkling gem of early cinema.
The only downside of "Indiscreet" is Ben Lyon, cast as the love interest of Swanson's character. In contrast to Swanson's cinematic artistry, Ben Lyon is as flat, unromantic and devoid of charm as usual. Supposedly, Lyon was one of the most popular stars of Hollywood, but -- after seeing Lyon in several films -- I still fail to see justification for such laurels. Indeed, a cardinal sin of film is when the villain or rival beau is more charming and attractive than the so-called hero (Lyon). This film is guilty of that sin with Monroe Owsley, cast as the rival, being far more interesting than Lyon.
Despite the lackluster performance of Lyon and dated moments, "Indiscreet" is still a pleasant film and passes the time. Don't look for brilliance, but there is some entertainment to be gleaned. At the very least, watch "Indiscreet" to glimpse a young Gloria Swanson at the height of her feminine powers.
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