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Wealthy socialite Elizabeth Flagg is courted by persistent Michael McLain, despite her protests that she is a married woman. McLain is just charming enough to attract Elizabeth into a series of harmless dalliances. But when he tries to extort money from her, they quarrel violently and she shoots at him with his own gun. McLain's wife Eva is arrested for his murder. With strong circumstantial evidence against her, Eva seems sure to be convicted... until the guilt-ridden Elizabeth persuades her own husband, defense attorney Tyler Flagg, to take the woman's case. He does so, but without knowing of his wife's involvement. Written by
Dan Navarro <email@example.com>
Slick, smart lawyer Walter Pidgeon defends a woman for a murder he comes to believe was committed by his own wife. The finale, in which Pidgeon unravels the more complicated truth during a series of wilder and wilder turns during cross-exam and summation, is a bit of a jaw-dropper and comes fairly close to violation of the day's Production Code.
This is a remake of EVELYN PRENTICE (1934), an earlier MGM version of the same story, based on a novel by W E Woodward, and starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. For my money the remake, STRONGER THAN DESIRE, is far and away the better of the two, with substantially stronger performances and script, and particularly better direction. Virginia Bruce has one of her best MGM roles, ever-reliable Pidgeon is terrific as the smart lawyer, and Ann Dvorak has the smaller but crucial role of the woman Pidgeon must defend. (Dvorak's then-husband, ex-actor Leslie Fenton, was the director).
This is just a B-picture from the factory at MGM, yet in casting, production values, and quality it compares to an A-release from virtually any other studio in Hollywood of that day. TCM doesn't run this one nearly often enough, though the PRENTICE version plays fairly frequently. STRONGER THAN DESIRE is the one to watch.
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