6.7/10
2,241
51 user 23 critic

A Free Soul (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 20 June 1931 (USA)
An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him.

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writers:

Adela Rogers St. Johns (from the book by), Becky Gardiner (adaptation)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Norma Shearer ... Jan Ashe
Leslie Howard ... Dwight Winthrop
Lionel Barrymore ... Stephen Ashe
Clark Gable ... Ace Wilfong
James Gleason ... Eddie
Lucy Beaumont ... Grandma Ashe
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Storyline

Stephen Ashe, an upper class alcoholic defense attourney, successfully defends local mobster Ace Wilfong in a murder case. After his daughter Jan Ashe breaks her engagement to polo player Dwight Winthrop and starts an affair with Wilfong, she finds that the liason is not easily severed when she wants out. Winthrop earns Miss Ashe's true affections by killing Wilfong to break his grip on her. Now the question is, can Stephen Ashe save Winthrop with an impassioned defense speech to the jury? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She thought a woman's soul could be free, but found that love held it prisoner. Should a father teach a girl all the facts of life? See the answer in this wonderful picture. (Print Ad- Houston Home Journal, ((Perry, Ga.)) 8 October 1931) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film ranked as ninth best picture in 1935 by the annual Film Daily poll of critics. See more »

Goofs

At 3:31, Eddie is putting creamer in the coffee for a second time. See more »

Quotes

Ace Wilfong, Gangster Defendant: Frightened?
Jan Ashe: No, I love it.
Ace Wilfong, Gangster Defendant: You love what?
Jan Ashe: Oh, I don't know. You're just a new kind of man in a new kind of world.
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Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

By the River Sainte Marie
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played as background music during the restaurant scene
See more »

User Reviews

A world of addiction
3 December 2002 | by rsyungSee all my reviews

I thought A Free Soul an interesting exploration into the world of addiction--father Stephen Ashe, as played by Lionel Barrymore, struggles to balance his career as a defense lawyer and the disastrous effects his alcoholism has on his family and social life. Daughter Jan (Norma Shearer) has a similar problem--but her addiction is to a free and easy lifestyle, with no commitments and no responsibility. Both seem to be ways of dealing with an unspoken loss--perhaps that of a wife and mother. Again, as with all good storytelling, backstory is only hinted at but the characters are rich enough to imply a great deal of history. Refreshing to see Clark Gable as a suave, handsome but ultimately despicable character. A surprising lack of stereotypes for such a film-the Ashes are a patrician, proper family who virtually disown Stephen and his daughter, but they are shown to be intelligent, unique people none the less. A wonderful, melodramatic exploration of the relationship of a father and daughter. Some nice location work for an early talkie.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 June 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Free Souls See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$529,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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