Dowdy housewife Kitty dotes on her self-centered husband but divorces him when his mistress shows up at their home one day to break up their marriage. Bob had become bored with her ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
Rod La Rocque,
The thoughts that people think are never the same as the words they speak - and in this movie, we can hear the thoughts. Gordon Shaw was a flyer who was shot down and killed during WWI. Nina would have married him before he left, but her father forbade the marriage. Charlie is a friend, but Nina does not love him and he is too timid- too shy - to tell her the way that he feels about her. Sam is her husband and her love disappears after the ceremony when she finds out that there is mental illness in his family and that there can be no children. To have the child she wants, but cannot have with Sam, she has a secret affair with Ned, who wants her to leave Sam. Gordon is the result of the affair, but he does not know Ned is his real father. Nina continues to play with the emotions of all three men and devote herself only to Gordon. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Eugene O'Neill's nine-act theatrical experiment created quite a stir in 1928, so it was inevitable that Hollywood would snap it up. The play's novelty was that the characters spoke their thoughts aloud in the manner of asides. On the stage, some of these speeches went on for quite some time while the other actors in the scene froze in place; on film they are reduced in length and pre-recorded so that while we hear the words we see the appropriate facial expressions on both the speaking and the listening actors. Nothing about these spoken thoughts expands our understanding of the thinkers in ways that good acting or deft direction couldn't have done just as well. The story, actually a saga, concerns a woman (Norma Shearer) unhinged by the death of her dashing aviator fiancé in the World War; she sets out to salvage her connection to this lost ideal man by marrying a lesser specimen, bearing his male child and naming it after the deceased. Along the way she learns from her mother-in-law (May Robson) that insanity runs in the husband's family. Convinced that this undesirable genetic trait will show up in her offspring, she aborts the child she is carrying and mates with a virile doctor friend (Clark Gable, who else?) to produce a healthy son which she then passes off as the husband's. Hard to believe? You bet. But it worked fascinatingly on the page, and perhaps even on the stage, but not on screen where it becomes just a series of mostly attractive talking heads. It is dramatically effective only in spots. Shearer is by turns compelling and strained. Clark Gable handles the material well until he encounters some overwrought plot contrivances near the end whereupon he is further hobbled by unconvincing old age makeup.
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