In the late 1800s New England, banker William Marlowe and his wife Martha have arranged for their daughter Mary to marry the officious and older Lord Hurley of England. Mary does not want ... See full summary »
Adapted from The Paul Street Boys, an autobiographical novel by Ferenc Molnar, GLORY is an unusually sensitive evocation of the pain of youth and the senselessness of war. Frail Nemecsek, a... See full summary »
George P. Breakston,
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In the late 1800s New England, banker William Marlowe and his wife Martha have arranged for their daughter Mary to marry the officious and older Lord Hurley of England. Mary does not want to marry Lord Hurley, but rather John Carlton, a lowly clerk at her father's bank. The two fell in love at first sight. When John and Mary's relationship is discovered by her parents, William discharges John. Knowing he can't get another job in New England, John decides to move west to California to start a new life off the land. Despite the probable hardships, Mary wants to go along and the two elope. They do face those initial hardships, most specifically an especially violent encounter with cattle rustlers, but they are able to carve out a successful life as ranchers. Twenty years, several children and a mansion of their own later, John is a popular choice to run for governor. Some past indiscretions may not only threaten his gubernatorial run but his marriage altogether. Written by
Mary Pickford's farewell to the screen was this film Secrets which seems like a cut rate version of Cimarron with a little bit of pre-Code infidelity thrown in. Whole chunks of the film I viewed tonight seem to have been edited out unfortunately and the viewer has to piece together what is missing.
I will say that Pickford did give a good performance in her farewell film, she ages quite nicely from the young ingénue she normally plays all the way up to being a little old lady, a queen of Washington society besides.
Her leading man in Secrets is Leslie Howard, an earnest young fellow in the employ of her father C. Aubrey Smith who's arranging a marriage with a stuffy English title in a suit. Mary's got eyes only for Howard though and they elope with proper ladder and all right out from under the noses of Smith, mother Blanche Fredirici, and the empty suit title Herbert Evans.
Smith has the power to make sure Howard's name is mud in New England so Howard and Pickford go west by wagon train the way Yancey and Sabra Cravat do in Cimarron.
Leslie Howard's as much not home on the range as he was in The Petrified Forest. But he does have grit and so does she.
There's also a question of infidelity which would not have gotten by the Code in a couple of years. It reflects the real life marital problems that Pickford was having right about then with her storybook marriage to Douglas Fairbanks ending. On screen Howard is having a fling with Mona Maris and he mentions there've been others. Still Mary stands by her man, unlike in real life.
One should see Secrets for no other reason than seeing Ned Sparks in the role of sidekick to Howard. He's less home on the range than Leslie. Who'd have thought both their screen credits would include a western or semi-western as the case may be.
The way the musical score was played during the film it was very reminiscent of silent films. Probably something Mary Pickford arranged as she was the producer as well.
Secrets is not a great film, though the stars perform more than adequately. It was too old fashioned for public taste when it was released in 1933, let alone now.
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