Jean Boucheron the cat burglar is the darling of the Montmartre whores--and catches the eye of slumming socialite Zelia de Chaumont, who decides to "reform" him. A complication is his ... See full summary »
The Dummy is a 1929 American comedy film directed by Robert Milton and written by Harriet Ford, Harvey J. O'Higgins, Herman J. Mankiewicz and Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The film stars Fredric ... See full summary »
Louis J. Gasnier
Charming Sinners is a 1929 American drama film directed by Robert Milton and written by W. Somerset Maugham and Doris Anderson. The film stars Ruth Chatterton, Clive Brook, Mary Nolan, ... See full summary »
Once a Lady is a 1931 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Guthrie McClintic and starring Ruth Chatterton, Ivor Novello and Jill Esmond. The film, produced and distributed by Paramount ... See full summary »
Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Helen Jerome Eddy
Ruth Chatterton's "comeback picture" after 2 years off the screen ...
Early into the telling of Lady of Secrets we discover that Chatterton's character, Celia, has a troubled past that easily surfaces into emotional outbursts. A Fourth of July parade with marching soldiers outside Celia's window sets her off like a firecracker. "Put on your uniforms and beat your drums!" she cries. "Tell the world that war is glorious. Let's have another one!" When she calms down, and wistfully calls out, "Michael ... Michael ... I've got to learn to forget"--we assume that the man she speaks of is among the dear departed.
Celia's younger sister, Joan (Marian Marsh) punishes the young man she loves, by announcing her engagement to a middle-aged millionaire, David (Otto Kruger). Celia is up front with the fiancé and tells him, nicely, "I don't feel this marriage should take place. If I find I'm right, I shall declare war on it." The simpatico between the talented actors, Chatterton and Kruger, is tangible. So far, Lady of Secrets holds the interest.
Halfway into the film, Celia is left alone to reminisce. We have the misfortune of experiencing a flashback which hammers more nails than necessary into the cross she bears, as well as the film's coffin. Any subtlety that Lady of Secrets had quickly vanishes. Instead, we look aghast as Chatterton is asked to portray Celia as a sixteen-year-old. A younger shade of blonde, giddy innocence, and clever lighting cannot disguise the fact that Baby Jane Hudson (Chatterton was 43) is attempting a comeback. 17 minutes of drudging up things we already suspect, deflates any delicacy the film possessed.
Lady of Secrets attempts to regain the charm, tempo and poignancy it had, but it comes too late. The inflated flashback has become a burdensome anchor, dragging its weight and the film with it.
Even so, I recommend this film for the talents of Chatterton and Kruger. Marian Marsh does well as the naive, younger sister. She and Chatterton got along well during the production, sharing a mutual interest in horses, and taking morning rides together in Griffith Park.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?