A young couple's marriage is jeopardized by the husband's descent into alcoholism.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Jimmie Wilson
Zita Johann ...
Florrie
Charlotte Wynters ...
Nina
Evelyn Baldwin ...
Nan Wilson
Jackson Halliday ...
Johnnie Marshall
Edna Hagan ...
Mary
Claude Cooper ...
Sam
Arthur Lipson ...
Cohen
Charles Richman ...
Mr. Craig
Helen Mack ...
A Catty Girl
Scott Moore ...
A Gigolo
Dave Manley ...
A Mill Worker
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A young couple's marriage is jeopardized by the husband's descent into alcoholism.

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Drama

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Release Date:

10 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Borba  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

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1.37 : 1
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This was the final feature-length film directed by D.W. Griffith. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good idea, but stiffly filmed, and a bit uncomplicated for a drama
12 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Struggle (1931)

There is one main reason to see this film—it is D.W. Griffith's last. Whatever horrors he is responsible for supporting the KKK in "Birth of a Nation," he was a maverick, a brilliant innovator. This is the end of the line, twenty years after he got going full steam.

The theme here is so prominent it almost dwarfs the plot—drinking. And getting drunk. The first example of a woman being drunk at a party is almost laughable, at least to those of us who have seen more than one person who has drunk "too much."

The filming here is typical Griffith, and he moves the story through the very years of his career, and the scenes update from the teens to the twenties to the "present," meaning 1931, a year or so before the end of Prohibition. You can make a case, I think, for some kind of radical fracturing of the plot, with a whole slew of characters and story lines started in the beginning of the movie and never followed up. It avoids normal linear storytelling.

It's tough to compare to other movies from 1931—this was still generally a rough time for the movie industry getting used to sound, but we are starting to see masterful meldings of visual and aural components, along with the consistency of acting and plot. The camera doesn't do much moving, and the sound is sometimes muddled or coarse, but you can rise above the limitations and see glimmers of both brilliance and depth. Truly—glimmers I mean. This isn't a brilliant movie.

There is a pretty linear downward trend here, and almost predictable. And the scenes are increasingly simple, showing interior rooms from one point of view. What holds it up at the best moments is some intense acting (the little girl, among the brightest spots). But it's no masterpiece, and could easily be avoided on your watch list.


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