Park Avenue socialite Mary (Norma Shearer) and staid English nobleman, Lord Phillip Rexford (Herbert Marshall) are married as a lark, but she is very happy for several years with her husband and child. But on a trip to the Riviera she meets again an old flame, Tommie Treal (Robert Montgomery), and under the spell of the sea breezes and the Mediterranean moon (a semi-excuse for adultery to keep Queen Norma's image clean, as this was a post-Production Code film), Mary is the "innocent" victim of a romantic escapade that makes the headlines and the scandal sheets. None of Mary's explanations can soothe Lord Phillip, reaping the fallout of marrying "down", and his cold indifference drives Mary, who fights against it (a minor and feeble struggle at best), closer to Tommie. As the two lovers surrender to their ardor, Lord R. learns from his secretary that Mary had been telling the truth, and he calls for her to join him in Cannes with a clean slate. O.K, but as Chief Sky Eagle told John ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Snow was trucked in from the Sierra Mountains for use in the Alpine scene. See more »
After Mary kisses Pamela for daddy, the book laying on the bed disappears in the next shot. See more »
All I needed was that girl.
Listen, you can write her off your next year's income tax as an unavoidable loss.
She trembled! She fluttered!
I know. But she'll flutter just as well tomorrow.
Oh, no, she won't; not her. She's got 'conscience' written all over her face. At this moment, she is cooling off - like some beautiful volcano that has decided not to wipe out a lot of Italian villages.
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Norma Shearer teams up with Robert Montgomery again in "Riptide" which also stars Herbert Marshall as part of a love triangle. There isn't too much special about this, but the beginning scene, with Marshall dressed as an huge insect and Shearer as a spider is very funny. Having just finished Shearer's bio by Gavin Lambert, it speaks of figure problems she had, particularly with her legs, and how hard she worked at being in shape. It paid off. She is absolutely beautiful in this film.
It's always difficult to realize that evidently, Herbert Marshall was once considered a romantic leading man, but given this movie and "Girls Dormitory," which I saw recently, I guess he was. In this, he sweeps playgirl Shearer off of her feet; they marry and have a daughter. After five years of wedded bliss, he goes on a business trip. While he's away, Norma meets old friend Montgomery at a party. He's always been crazy about her. They get drunk, kiss, and she runs for it. The next thing she knows, he's fooling around outside her window and throws himself off of her balcony. Scandal. Hubby comes home to headlines. Doesn't know if he can believe that nothing went on since the scripts hints that she was a slut while she was single. Marriage strained. Etc.
This kind of story is a little hard to take these days, but Shearer and Montgomery are very good. In comparison to their lively performances, Marshall is rather dull - which is the point, so it's appropriate.
The amazing thing about "Riptide" is an appearance by Mrs. Patrick Campbell, a theater icon. She's excellent as Marshall's aunt. I've often wondered if some of the early stage luminaries were as good as everyone claimed, but after seeing Campbell and the Barrymores in film, they sure were. For this reason and because it's pre-code, "Riptide" is worth seeing.
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