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John M. Stahl
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Straightforward adaptation of the Fannie Hurst novel that dates rather badly. Irene Dunne, understated and excellent, is the unfortunate good-time (but not that good-time; as she quite explicitly states to George Meeker, she doesn't put out) gal of Cincinnati circa 1900, she has the misfortune to meet an up-and-coming, and already engaged, John Boles, and ends up being his back-street mistress. It's refreshingly pre-Code frank about such things, and some good character actors--Walter Catlett, Jane Darwell--turn up in small roles. I also liked Meeker as the nice guy who loves Dunne, but just isn't interesting enough to make her want him back. The trouble is, and it mustn't have been as evident in 1932, is that Boles's character is such a jerk. Time and again he'll say something insensitive, or do something insensitive, to her, then beg for an apology, and get it. He's not worth wasting a life over, and her motives are somewhat unclear. Still, it's a solid '30s soap. I like the 1941 Margaret Sullavan version better, but this one's miles ahead of the Susan Hayward, and less susceptible to unintentional laughter.
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