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Strangers May Kiss (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 4 April 1931 (USA)
Against her friends wishes, Lisbeth moves to Mexico to live with her lover.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(from a book by), (dialogue continuity)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Alan
...
Geneva
...
Celia
Hale Hamilton ...
Andrew
...
Spanish Dancer
Jed Prouty ...
Harry
Albert Conti ...
De Bazan
...
Waiter
George Davis ...
Waiter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
(unconfirmed)
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Storyline

Lisbeth is a modern woman who thinks that marriage is old fashioned. She has two men in her life; Steve, who wants to marry her and Alan, who wants her to travel with him. Despite all the warnings by her friends and family, Lisbeth goes to Mexico with Alan where she is happy until she finds out that he has a wife in Paris and that he is leaving for his next job without her. Devastated, she spends a few years in Europe being the life of the party. While her reputation is well known, her life of gaiety has not made her happy. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

4 April 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beijos a Esmo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on a book of the same name by Ursula Parrott. Parrott also wrote the book which "The Divorcee" was based on. See more »

Goofs

During the opening of the movie, when Lisbeth (Norma Shearer) and Alan (Neil Hamilton) get off the plane they were flying in, there is no pilot visible when the plane door opens. See more »

Quotes

Geneva: Darling. Darling, you're right and I'm a fool. I'm sorry but you'll have to send your messages by wireless. No time now for sad farewells. Forget about tomorrow and yesterday and go to it. My wild Irish blessing's attend you. Hooray and three cheers!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish ballad
Played outside the theater
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User Reviews

 
It just oozes cynicism.
28 September 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This sort of film clearly is an example of a so-called 'Pre-Code' film--one that had story elements that clearly would not have been allowed following the enactment of the strengthened Production Code in 1934. As such, plots involving adultery, premarital sex and the like were fair game--and might be shocking to audiences today who assume that sex wasn't invented until the 1960s!

"Strangers May Kiss" features a modern woman (Norma Shearer) who sees no need to marriage and carries on with two men (Robert Montgomery and Neil Hamilton)--often going on dates with BOTH at the same time. It's uncertain if the film makers were implying a ménage à trois--though it can easily be inferred. It also is one of the most cynical films when it comes to marriage and infidelity--strongly implying that conventional marriage is a sham. In this film, 'happy marriages' are those where the wife has not yet discovered that their husbands are being unfaithful!! And this is the apparent justification for Shearer's care-free lifestyle. This is a girl who clearly enjoys men (and sex) and makes no pretense about it!

As far as the two boyfriends go, the casting is a bit unusual. Neil Hamilton (who usually played well-educated and erudite gentlemen) is quite the bohemian when it comes to women. He travels the world covering revolutions and the like for newspapers and has no interest in marrying Shearer--and makes this clear. Montgomery, on the other hand, is much more conventional (but a bit of a sap) and repeatedly proposed to her--and seems willing to let her have her little fling with Hamilton. It's unusual, as so often in later films Montgomery played the rogue and Hamilton the nice guy. And, Montgomery never would have played such a weak man.

Eventually, Shearer makes her choice of the two men and follows Hamilton on his next assignment to rural Mexico. At first she is deliriously happy. However, her liberal-minded views on marriage are put to the test when she discovers he is already married. Considering what she's said throughout the film, this shouldn't have mattered. So how does Shearer reconcile this---does she change her attitudes to the more conventional or does she simply continue this steamy affair regardless of the consequences? Tune in and see in this interesting drama--as the answer isn't that clear until the very end.

For lovers of Pre-Code films in all their sleazy glory, this film is a must-see. While it's not a great movie, it is just permeated with the sort of amoral cynicism that would shock many today and makes the movie fascinating. The bottom line is that stories like this that flaunted the moral code of the day (at least the STATED moral code) and featured in idle rich did not resonate well in middle America--though apparently city folk were more accepting of such plots. This disparity alienated many potential viewers and led to the new and rigidly enforced Code.

Perhaps the moral of this movie is "be careful what you ask for...you might just get it"! That's because although the film revels in amorality, the end seems to reinforce that perhaps this sort of life isn't all it's cracked up to be--making the film not nearly as cynical as the Queen of Pre-Code films, "Red-Headed Woman"! And, for that matter, not quite as satisfying as the very final end of the film seemed all wrong.


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