John Shadwell, a promising politician, is married to Laura but is in love with Vergie Winters, a milliner from his home town. As Shadwell's political career blooms, gossip and rumors begin ...
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John Shadwell, a promising politician, is married to Laura but is in love with Vergie Winters, a milliner from his home town. As Shadwell's political career blooms, gossip and rumors begin to cause Vergie to be shunned by the women of the town. Soon the two are constantly faced with the threat of exposure and scandal.Written by
London Bridge is Falling Down
Traditional nursery song
Played as part of the score for scene of children playing See more »
Ann Harding pre-code tearjerker features the surprise casting of Lon Chaney Jr.
1934's "The Life of Vergie Winters" was an RKO vehicle for fading early talkie star Ann Harding, well cast as an unselfish woman, Virgie Winters, foolishly cast aside by her former lover John Shadwell (John Boles), who was told by Vergie's father Jim (Edward Van Sloan) that she intended to marry his assistant, good natured Hugo McQueen (Lon Chaney Jr.). Marrying on the rebound to Laura (Helen Vinson), whose father offered Vergie's father $10,000 to assure that the wedding take place, John later returns to Vergie to proclaim his true love, after she has made a success selling hats to ladies in a millinery shop. Vergie does not want any scandal attached to John's name as his rise in politics is swift and assured, John's wife only interested in the prestige of being Mrs. John Shadwell. Vergie even goes so far as to give up her love child with John, sending their newborn daughter off to Washington to live with her father, remaining ignorant of her parentage throughout childhood (future Nancy Drew Bonita Granville enjoys a showy bit as the young Joan Shadwell). Only at the end, after John attends his daughter's wedding, does he attempt to make a clean break from his clinging spouse, who has known about his affair with Vergie for many years, and refuses to grant him a divorce. Everything that female moviegoers would expect from such a story is present, right through to the expectedly downbeat finale, so it's up to the cast to offer their own interpretations to carry off various subplots (a bit too many I should think). Appearing uncredited is Walter Brennan, whose timely bit of spying precipitates Vergie's fall from grace with the town gossips, as well as the unmistakable Edwin Maxwell, cast in his usual role as orator (I guess John Carradine was unavailable). Speaking of Carradine, his future co-star Lon Chaney is present in the 6th billed role of Hugo McQueen, still billed under his real name, Creighton Chaney (this was only his 8th film), a nice change of pace though on screen (until the very end) for only the first 15 minutes (still at his original studio, RKO). Ann Harding's performance in the title role is certainly acceptable, but the film was not the hoped-for box office success she anticipated, the newly enforced Hays code preventing such adult frankness in future movie projects.
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