In the late 1800s New England, banker William Marlowe and his wife Martha have arranged for their daughter Mary to marry the officious and older Lord Hurley of England. Mary does not want to marry Lord Hurley, but rather John Carlton, a lowly clerk at her father's bank. The two fell in love at first sight. When John and Mary's relationship is discovered by her parents, William discharges John. Knowing he can't get another job in New England, John decides to move west to California to start a new life off the land. Despite the probable hardships, Mary wants to go along and the two elope. They do face those initial hardships, most specifically an especially violent encounter with cattle rustlers, but they are able to carve out a successful life as ranchers. Twenty years, several children and a mansion of their own later, John is a popular choice to run for governor. Some past indiscretions may not only threaten his gubernatorial run but his marriage altogether.Written by
WHILE HE SPENT HIS LIFE KEEPING SECRETS FROM THE WOMAN HE LOVED, SHE SPENT HERS KEEPING HIM FROM KNOWING THAT SHE KNEW THEM...AND HAD KNOWN THEM ALL THE TIME! (Print Ad- New York Sun, ((New York, NY)) 14 March 1933) See more »
Mrs. Martha Marlowe:
Flowers, food, champagne and whiskeys. Enough for about 40 people. That will cost money. And getting the money from your father, in these times, will not be simple. You seem very much interested, my pet.
I fear I'm not the least interested, Mama.
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This movie was released the same year as the Oscar winning British film Cavalcade. I've seen them both, and yet Cavalcade was more celebrated then - and now - than "Secrets", even though Secrets is similar to Cavalcade in many ways. Secrets tells the story of a couple through 50 years from their secret courtship in New England and elopement, to their days building up a farm in California, through the husband's rise in politics and then their old age. It really is strongly structured into three acts, but that neither adds to nor subtracts from the film. I thought Mary Pickford still seemed young enough to play the youthful part at this point, and Leslie Howard gave a strong performance as her husband.
Even though this film was well acted, ably directed by Frank Borzage, and had an interesting storyline, it failed at the box office. Perhaps it was just not what Depression era audiences wanted, or perhaps Pickford fans still couldn't get used to Mary in talking roles. At any rate, because Pickford financed her own films, this hit her hard financially. She had started making this film in 1930, stopped production, and then started over, finishing three years later. Thus, this was Mary Pickford's last film, although she remained active behind the scenes as a producer for many years.
If you like films like "Cavalcade" or "Giant" that tell epic stories of families over time, you should like this one. It does show that Mary Pickford did very well understand how to take on a talking film role.
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