Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has ... See full summary »
Johnny Ramirez rises from bouncer to partner in Charlie Roark's border town casino. Charlie's wife Marie loves Johnny, but Johnny loves society woman Dale. Marie kills her husband, making ... See full summary »
Bart is a clerk for a publishing company; he has written a novel. His wife Peggy and he have five children. Bart's former girlfriend Mildred is manager of the company's Paris office. She ... See full summary »
Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Helen Jerome Eddy
Marianne falls in love with con man Valentine who uses their relation to get her father's endorsement on a money-raising scheme. He runs off with the money and Marianne, later dumping her. ... See full summary »
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William A. Seiter
In World War I London, Myra is an American out of work chorus girl making ends meet by picking up men on Waterloo Bridge. During a Zeppelin air raid she meets Roy, a naive young American who enlisted in the Canadian army. They fall for each other, and he tricks Myra into visiting his family who live in a country estate outside London, where his step-father is a retired British Major. However Myra is reluctant to continue the relationship with Roy, because she has not told him about her past. Written by
[Mae Clarke in 1985 speaking of working with James Whale] I knew James Whale was imported as one of England's very best and was aware of the great success of the play and film "Journey's End." I wanted to meet Mr. Whale the way I would have entered college to begin learning... Our relationship was the adoration between a teacher (who was expert) and a pupil (who was most willing.) And our objectives became 'What did the author want? What did he not say and assumed we would? We could forget ourselves.' See more »
Near the end, when Roy goes out looking for Myra, the "sky" he walks under can be seen to be quite wrinkled - it's really a canvas backdrop. See more »
Lovely night, huh?
Lovely night for what? Air raids? Those fellows up there give me the willies.
Well, they're men, aren't they? I'd rather they throw bombs on me, than take no notice of me at all.
I expect they do that just to please you, dearie.
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Sweet, not saccharine, daring, and some sharply fresh performances
Waterloo Bridge (1931)
An amazing movie. Set in London during World War I, directed by the man who directed the original (and also amazing) Frankenstein, and with photography by the less known but first rate Arthur Edeson (Frankenstein, yes, but also Casablanca, no less). And throw in an astonishing actress, Mae Clarke, and you can see why it doesn't falter. She plays a struggling chorus girl and prostitute with snappy, lively believability. The lead male, Douglass Montgomery, playing a sweet hearted American soldier, is also a surprise face, totally charming, a perfect complement to Clarke. As characters, the young soldier's bright optimism brings out the best in the struggling but good hearted street girl.
The story is fast, and not completely predictable, and has a blow-out of an ending, really nice. Though set in the teens it feels modern (maybe too modern, historically). I never knew that London had a kind of Blitz experience in WWI, just as they would a decade after this film was released, and looking it up I found the Germans used zeppelins over London in the first war much the same was as they did (with planes) in WWII--to demoralize the civilian population. It adds tense excitement to the film throughout, and to the last scenes in particular, even if it isn't completely realistic (for some reason people don't scramble for cover even as the bombs are being dropped, maybe to portray that stiff upper lip thing).
Is this just a silly romance? No, no way, not when the two actors in it are so fresh and convincing, giving sparkling, nuanced performances miles away from the stiffness we associate with early sound films (or with many silent movies). This is a first rate and fast movie and honest, only 79 minutes long, with fully formed soundtrack and solid supporting cast (including a young Betty Davis, who is already confident and familiar as the sister of the leading man). The LeRoy remake of 1940 is a testimony to the strength of the story (and it is also really good). But if you want to see an early gem on its own terms, here it is. Highly recommended.
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