An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.
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Well-to-do Chicagoan, Larry Darrell, breaks off his engagement to Isabel and travels the world seeking enlightenment, eventually finding his guru India. Isabel marries Gray, and following the crash of 1929, is invited to live in Paris with her rich, social climbing, Uncle Elliot. During a sojurn there, Larry, having attained his goal, is reunited with Isabel. While slumming one night Larry, Isabel and company are shocked to discover Sophie, a friend from Chicago. Having lost her husband and child in a tragic accident, Sophie is living the low-life with the help of drugs and an abusive brute. Larry tries to rehabilitate her, but his efforts are sabotaged by Isabel who tries in vain to reignite Larry's interest in herself. Written by
Richard Blinkal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the screenplay credits are shown, a curious symbol appears near W. Somerset Maugham's name. It's a symbol meant to ward off the evil eye, and it more often than not appeared on the covers of many of Maugham's novels. See more »
Brilliantly cinematic adaptation in the grand Hollywood style
I discovered this movie only recently and have watched it three times in the last two months. It's the kind of movie that rewards repeated viewings. The story, as others have commented, is moving and inspiring and way ahead of its time, dealing as it does with topics (the philosophical/spiritual quest for meaning in life, alcoholism, psychic healing, class divisions, post-war trauma, greed vs. self sacrifice) that one would expect in a movie taking place in the nineteen sixties rather than one taking place immediately following World War I. It offers the pleasure of Hollywood glamour of a very high order with one spectacular set-piece after another. Over and over, one is amazed at the staging of scenes set at balls, restaurants, night-clubs, Paris streets, factories, etc. Many jaw-dropping, pre-steadycam long takes involve the choreography of dozens of elements, e.g. one long take outside a Paris railway station, or another crane shot in a Paris night club as the camera searches the crowd for the protagonists. Everyone involved with the film seems to be working at his or her peak, from director Goulding to composer Alfred Newman, to all the perfectly cast actors. The screenplay is filled with brilliant cinematic story-telling devices (ironic voice-overs, montage sequences, foreshadowings, symbolism (the use of water and the ocean in so many scenes)that keep a long and complex story moving so smoothly that the two-hour-plus running time is hardly noticed at all. The cinematography by someone named Arthur Miller is gorgeous with lighting effects and moving camerawork that rank in the pantheon of Hollywood's visual creations. This is a great film.
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