The Right to Romance (1933) Poster

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The Right To Romance (1933)
jkarman19 September 2005
It's sad that there are now, one or two generations who don't know about Ann Harding. Why she isn't as memorable as other MGM headliners I'll never know. Thankfully, we have these well preserved films for their legacy to live on and to memorialize the art. The 'Right To Romance' has to be the BEST movie of 1933. It stands against competition that rate solid 9.9 and less but this rates truly a 10.0. Once watched, you will become a fan of Ann Harding who gives the strongest performance of her career. A well written story which allows Nils Asther to display his acting talent too, (which outshines Robert Montgomery). This movie is short, to the point, memorable and besides, an amazingly well written story. Blow the dust off this one and find a young friend who you'd like to turn onto an ageless but forgotten classic. I promise, you won't regret it.
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A Must See for 1930's movie fans
georgigems27 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I knew nothing of this film until I started watching it about 15 minutes into its start. I was really watching it for the clothes( that are so spectacular even in "B" films of the 1930's) and got caught up in the story. Ann Harding, who is totally unknown today and was a major star then, plays a woman doctor, a plastic surgeon, who falls for a much younger playboy (Robert Young- looking very young by the way) and marries him even though deep down inside she knows it might not work out. She is loved by a colleague played effortlessly by Nils Asher. And yes, who knows who HE was today? Asher was one of the best character actors who had a short career in the 1930's yet was paired with some of the best and most glamorous leading ladies of the era. While her husband was off having an affair with his ex-girlfriend, they have a plane crash and she is scarred. Will the doctor save her life and restore her beauty? And will she finally have the love she wants and deserves from her colleague who adores her? Very short film (about 70 minutes) but right on target and not a lot of fluff. AND yes, being a fashion stylist myself, the clothes are fabulous, especially, the gown Ann Harding wears at the party where she succumbs to Robert Young's charms. If you are a 1930's film fan, you must see this film.
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Solid Ann Harding entry
mbrindell19 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
No, this is not Harding's best film, nor is it one of her better flicks. It is, however, an enjoyable example of the type of movie that she is most fondly remembered for: a well-crafted "woman's film" exploring sensitive social issues. Warning: Care must be taken to view this film within the context of its time. Please don't apply your 2010 sophistication to this 1933 movie; that's just not fair. In the early '30s Harding was a pioneering actress. Her skills as an performer (film & Broadway) were immense. She was well respected by her peers, and her movies generally returned comfortable profits for her studios. Films like "The Right to Romance" were her forte. Few actresses could match her in this genre. None could top her on her best day. I say that Harding was a pioneer because she, along with fellow actresses Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Kay Francis, et al, aggressively pushed the woman's rights issue. The "right" referred to in this title is Harding's character's "right" to romance, not the right of an entitled male character. In this film Harding plays a medical doctor. While America's ladies were slowly breaking into the medical profession during the '20s and '30s, their numbers were still very small and generally limited to the R.N. field. Harding's character is not only a doctor, but she is a very successful and respected practitioner--one who is in great demand. Harding plays the role with great strength and understatement. Her character works hard and succeeds wonderfully in working tiny miracles, but the movie's script is smart enough to demonstrate the drudgery and boredom that can also be found in the medical profession, and of course the dangerous strain of overwork. After a brief vacation fling with a wealthy and irresponsible playboy, the good doctor marries the worthless cad and together they set up house. Here's where things get good. Harding's "Peggy" becomes the stereotypical "responsible man" of the house. She's up early every morning and goes to work every day. She works long and late hours. Meantime, her husband lounges about the house listening to football games he wishes he could attend. It may seem hard to imagine, but in the pre-Code era this little drama (it's not a comedy) was quite successful. People wanted to see this movie; they paid an admission price. Strong women were box-office gold. And please don't think the reversed male/female roles were played for laughs, because this is simply not the case; it's done tastefully, and it is very believable. This film was heady stuff in its day. When the husband and wife eventually do parts ways, it is Peggy who dumps Young's character. She does it for two reasons: 1) Her husband is a skirt-chasing lout and not deserving of her, and 2) Our straight-laced, hard-working Peggy has found another man, a better man! Talk about women's liberation. When the Code was enforced in '34, actresses and actors ceased to be equals. The Ann Hardings and Kay Francises were relegated--for the most part--to obedient, submissive wife roles. Even Myrna Loy's Nora Charles became a bit of a sidekick post '34, as opposed to the first Thin Man movie where she is every bit Nick's equal. The Code (it was pressed primarily by conservative Christian religious groups) dumbed down the ladies' roles. They became passive and demure (religions like 'em that way). The Code not only "corrected" immoral Hollywood's corrupting issues of too much exposed feminine leg, and too much vulgar language, and too much social degradation, it also tossed the fine ladies back into the kitchen and into the typing pool. It kept woman from being man's equal--at least on film in America--for the next 30 years. Screwball comedies were some consolation, but only "some."
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A pleasant but not especially memorable flick
MartinHafer10 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This film stars Ann Harding--an actress pretty much forgotten today, though in the early to mid-1930s, she was rather popular. She plays a super-dedicated surgeon that forgot to establish a life for herself outside the hospital where she works. Eventually, she comes to realize what she's missing and decides to take some time off to experience life. In the process she meets playboy Robert Young and she is captivated by his wild and carefree style--the exact opposite of hers. After a whirlwind romance they are married and soon Ann realizes she might have been a bit too impulsive! She is neither happy with him nor is he especially faithful, so in the end she appears poised to leave Young for her long-time friend, Heppie. The film is unusual and a true product of the "Pre-Code" era--before production standards were enforced. Had the film been made just a couple years later, the couple never would have taken such a casual attitude towards marriage or at least this would have been somehow punished. Instead, being adults, they just called it quits and went their own way. This helps to make the movie interesting from a historical standpoint, but otherwise the film really isn't all that special or interesting. A decent time-passer is about all it is down deep. By the way, Ms. Harding is a plastic surgeon but later in the film she'd doing back or orthopedic surgery! Even then, I doubt if any surgeon would have done such divergent types of operations.
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good film, but not anywhere as good as, "Double Harness"
kenn_honeyman5 April 2007
You must see, "Double Harness"-1933, to appreciate how GREAT an actress Ms. Harding was!... i thought lots of comments were posted on the film site,or her biography site, butijust checked, and most were gone;what happened to them? I thought there were at least 5 posts saying what great heights Ms. Harding's subtle performance achieved! She had been nominated for Academy award in 1930 for, "Holiday". Marie Dressler won that year for "Min, and Bill"- a great performance,too!This movie,"Holiday", was remade with Katherine Hepburn, and Cary Grant in 1938. This was a great comedy... but sadly the Harding movie is almost in total disrepair at the Library of Congress. You must see Double Harness!!!!!!!!!!
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Ann Harding - looking for love
blanche-27 June 2016
For some reason, the name Ann Harding today doesn't have the cache of some of her "strong woman" type contemporaries, such as Kay Francis, Barbara Stanwyck, and their ilk. It's unclear why. She was a very good actress, but I think in the end she didn't have the studio attention that some other actresses did.

Thanks to TCM, film buffs have a chance to see her. Here she is in "The Right to Romance" from 1933, also starring Robert Young and Nils Asther. Harding plays Peggy Simmons, a dedicated plastic surgeon (though I swear it said Peggy Simmons, D.D.S. - isn't that some sort of dentist?) who is also generous and good-hearted. But she doesn't feel much like a woman, working all of the time and seeing the years fly by.

She decides to go on a break, where she dresses beautifully, does her hair, and heads for a resort area. There, she meets one of her patient's sons, whom she has met before, Bobby (Robert Young). He is suddenly very flirtatious and wanting to spend time with her.

Peggy returns to her old life and patients, but Bobby shows up and proposes. She accepts, seemingly unaware that her colleague (Nils Asther) is in love with her.

The marriage isn't happy - Bobby isn't ready to settle down, and Peggy finds that she is miserable.

Short, very absorbing film thanks to the actors. It's interesting - in '40s films, a woman had a career or a marriage, not both, and if she had a career, she was WITHOUT A MAN TO CALL HER OWN and therefore miserable.

The '30s films were different - go figure. Peggy is burned out initially but, without giving the ending away, we're not given the impression that she's chucking her career entirely.

Harding was theater-trained, so she had the mid-American (i.e. fake British) speech spoken by Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, and others. She was a strong actress, and her striking looks matched.

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Doctoring Ann Harding
wes-connors16 July 2011
Beautiful cosmetic surgeon Ann Harding (as Margaret "Peggy" Simmons) feels her biological clock ticking away. "The years are going so fast," she tells her somber nun, "Am I, after all, just a giddy woman at heart?" Ms. Harding takes a leave of absence from work and goes from staid Manhattan doctor to fun-loving Los Angeles sophisticate. She cuts down on smoking and has a whirlwind romance with wealthy playboy Robert Young (as Bobby Preble). You should expect their chance for happiness will be threatened... This Harding vehicle always leaves you wondering why she is so infatuated with Mr. Young while ignoring magnetic Nils Asther (as Helmuth "Heppie" Heppling), which may be the point. **** The Right to Romance (11/17/33) Alfred Santell ~ Ann Harding, Robert Young, Nils Asther, Sari Maritza
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