Innocent Clive Brook, accused of being a card cheat, finally takes action
"Action for Slander" (1938) is a splendid little drama and courtroom drama with a splendid cast. The IMDb rating of 6.5 is one I'd agree with, suggesting the movie is on the high average side.
Clive Brook is cheating on his wife, Ann Todd, with the regiment's captain's wife, Margaretta Scott. This motivates the captain, Arthur Margetson, to lie in support of an accusation that Brook has cheated at cards. We can see clearly that he didn't. Brook is dissuaded from bringing an action against the slander by his friends, but this makes matters worse. Rumors grow over the course of a year. Meanwhile Todd has left him for Paris accompanied by her maid, Googie Withers. Eventually, Francis L. Sullivan as defense lawyer squares off against Felix Aylmer for the state. The courtroom sequence is electric.
The story reveals the importance of honor in reputation. Brook drops Scott and goes into seclusion. Brook even contemplates suicide. One's standing in society means that much, and so does social ostracism.
There are some wonderful interplays along the way. Withers and her boy friend, Brook's orderly, are separated and each has some sparkle to their scenes. Ms. Scott is suitably seductive and selfish. The elderly judge is a sharp character.
We have here accomplished actors putting across material that is very much tied to its time, at least in myth, and making it work. The acting is uniformly strong, making this a delight to watch and listen to.
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