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The Clements father and son live by the generosity of rich women. Max, the son, sets his sites on Lady Joan, who is rich, but down-to-earth and charming. At her house he meets Rosine Brown, an Austrian widow involved with a rich man. Instantly infatuated with her, Max pursues Rosine until she relents and agrees to marry him. But the elder Clement loses 4500 pounds gambling and Max decides he must marry Joan to prevent his father's imprisonment. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A couple of penniless gentlemen - father & son - would probably prefer not to have to live off the money of wealthy women -BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK...
Full of rather sophisticated, pre-Code dialogue, this sadly obscure film of romantic misadventures among the British upper crust should come as an enjoyable surprise to viewers looking for witty words & fine performances.
Robert Montgomery fits in perfectly with the tenor of this production. Dapper & handsome, with just the faintest tinge of scurrility about his demeanor, he fills the part quite nicely, while making it easy for the viewer to comprehend the type of mindset this sort of charming charlatan needs to survive socially.
Two excellent actresses play the women in Montgomery's life; both, unfortunately, are seldom remembered or recalled in Hollywood's histories. English Heather Thatcher is very touching as the lonely, monocled daughter of a duke; her unrequited adoration of Montgomery is quite palpable. Austro-Hungarian Nora Gregor is beautiful & slightly mysterious as the Viennese widow who captures Montgomery's gigolo heart; her confused hesitation in surrendering to his blandishments is both very human & utterly delightful.
Wizened Edward Everett Horton scores as a perplexed, suspicious lord who desperately wants Miss Gregor's love. Wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith is nothing less than terrific as Montgomery's elderly roué of a father, constantly on the lookout for another rich widow to buy him supper. Smith was one of Hollywood's most distinguished actors - and his talent was never more on display than in the sequence here where his character discovers the awful consequences to personal honour of incurring an unpayable gambling debt.
Silent screen matinee idol Nils Asther enlivens the last few minutes of the film, playing a rakish prince. Eva Moore & Frederick Kerr are very humorous as elderly aristocrats. Movie mavens will recognize an unbilled Ray Milland as a young man at Miss Thatcher's party.
This film has an impressive pedigree, based, as it is, on The Truth Game, a popular London stage play by Welshman Ivor Novello (1893-1951). One of the United Kingdom's biggest celebrities, Novello was a phenomenally successful stage & screen actor, composer & playwright. Brought to California by MGM in the very early 1930's, he spent a good deal of time waiting for the Studio to find a suitable American film project for him. Novello eventually wrote the continuity & dialog for -BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK, which would be one of the few substantial outcomes of his brief Hollywood sojourn.
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