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||IMDB Rating: 7.3/10 from PASSED votes
||Release: 01 Oct 1937 /
||Director: Sam Wood, Gustav Machatý,
||Synopsis: Thrown out of her home after her husband discovers her infidelity, a woman sinks into degradation. Twenty years later, she is charged with killing a man bent on revealing her degraded ...
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Turner Classic Movies showed this a few days ago and, curious to see
how it differed from the glossy Lana Turner/Ross Hunter-produced
Technicolor version of almost thirty years later, I tuned in. There
were a few differences, of course, in the way the familiar plot was
developed, but, oh my goodness! Gladys George just blew me away! She
towered above the proceedings with a performance that is just amazing.
TCM's host, Robert Osborne, in some concluding remarks after the film's
closing scene faded from the tube, advised that Tyrone Power was to
have been loaned to appear as Ms. George's son in this version, in a
complex deal with 20th Century Fox that involved Clark Gable and Jean
Harlow (from the M-G-M side of the ledger) and Shirley Temple and
Tyrone from 20th. But Harlow's sudden death caused the deal to fall
through (thus permitting posterity to be graced with Judy Garland as
Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" rather than Shirley, whom M-G-M had
really wanted for their extravaganza) and Tyrone didn't come to M-G-M
until the following year for his relatively small role in "Marie
The result, as far as the 1937 version of this oft-filmed weepie is
concerned, was that M-G-M gave it a little less than "A" production
values, but the performance of Ms. George in the title role makes that
of small consequence, indeed. She's utterly believable, especially as
she slides into slatternly alcoholism during the latter half of the
picture. Osborne also revealed that, as the years wore on, Gladys
became a bit too fond of the bottle in real life, accounting for her
relegation to supporting roles. But there's no way she was under the
influence when her inebriated scenes were filmed during this
production's abbreviated shooting schedule. She's a professional here,
at the peak of her powers, and they're close to tremendous, especially
in the final, over-wrought courtroom scenes. Lana wasn't half-bad in
the remake, but she benefited from the passage of nearly three decades
since Ms. George had made the role her own. What a star!
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