Queen Kelly (1932)

Passed   |    |  Drama


Queen Kelly (1932) Poster

A convent girl is abducted and seduced by a prince before being sent off to a brothel in East Africa.


7.2/10
2,965

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  • Seena Owen and Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly (1932)
  • Seena Owen and Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly (1932)
  • Walter Byron and Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly (1932)
  • Walter Byron and Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly (1932)
  • Walter Byron and Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly (1932)
  • Seena Owen and Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly (1932)

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Awards

1 win.

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


14 July 2006 | jazzfantastic
9
| A Luminous "Queen Kelly"
The restored version of "Queen Kelly' shown on TCM recently was a revelation to those of us who only knew Gloria Swanson from "Sunset Boulevard" in the '50's. Swanson in 1928 had incredibly large and luminous (?green?) eyes, as well as that curiously angular lower jaw still evident in "Boulevard". She seemed fairly tall and almost husky in "Kelly", compared to many women (and men) of the 20's to the 50's who were physically quite small, and looked it in their screen roles. She was lovely in a unique way.

More importantly, I thought Swanson was GREAT in the part. What an incredible range of facial and body expressiveness! Given the restrictions of the plot, and doubtless a domineering director, Swanson did a tremendous job in making her character seem believable. Yes, perhaps she did look older than 18, but in my opinion, she could pass for 21 or so. She certainly didn't look older than her 31 years, as another reviewer opines. Perhaps her sheer acting skill and range of motion were convincing enough to play 10 years younger than her true age. It's done all the time on the stage and screen, why wouldn't it be acceptable in this 1928 film?

I found Walter Byron gorgeous, and strangely modern in his good looks. Not of the now-hackneyed strong-profile leading man variety popular in early films. Instead, he was impeccably groomed and costumed, with short, straight, slicked-back hair. A beautiful sight to behold. He did a very good job within the constraints of silent acting. I'll be looking for more of his work.

The Jan VanHeidt character was almost too-disgusting to be credible, but archetypes were more pronounced in the silent genre. The actor did a very credible job, doubtless under the director's specific instructions about how to convey his debauched and depraved condition.

Perhaps it's because so much of the film was lost and/or cut, but Kelly's acquiescence to marrying the dissolute Jan seemed inexplicable to me. Von Stoheim went to a lot of trouble to give Swanson a L-O-N-G flashback while the wedding ceremony was being read which included the Prince's admonition to Kelly not to "forget him", "forsake him", or words to that effect. Yet she says yes anyway. You have to make a lot of assumptions about Kelly's character and personality to justify her decision, and rationalize in your own mind why on earth she didn't manifest some gumption and say after due consternation and anguish, "No, No, Never!".

This is a technically beautiful film. The lighting, sets, costumes, etc. are wonderful! Well worth seeing, even with the missing film and downbeat ending.

Critic Reviews


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Did You Know?

Trivia

Erich von Stroheim clashed with Paul Ivano numerous times; Ivano would frequently be fired by the exacting director, only to be immediately reinstated by Gloria Swanson.


Quotes

Kitty Kelly, aka Queen Kelly: He's going... to marry... you?
Queen Regina V: *I* am going to marry *HIM*!


Goofs

The positions of the two different groups, the troops and the convent girls, are constantly changing in relation to the shrine on Kambach road.


Alternate Versions

The video version released by Force Video in Australia, has a different ending than the Kino version - this involves several scenes not in the Kino version at all. In the Force version, the Queen is seen dictating a letter to the imprisoned prince, after Kelly throws herself into the river. The letter outlines some terms for his release. We then go to the prison cell, and the scene between the prince and his friend is the same as the Kino version. In both versions the friend evidently hears a noise and leaves. In the Kino version he never returns, but in the Force version he returns with the letter from the queen. We learn that the conditions of his release are that he marry Kelly immediately, and consummate the marriage within 24 hours. He then rushes off to the convent to see Kelly. The scene with the Mother Superior is in both versions, but in the Kino version she tells the prince that Kelly has gone to Africa. In the Force version she leads him into the chapel, where Kelly's body is lying in state. She has drowned. The prince cries over the body and then begins to draw his sword, with the obvious intention of killing himself. The movie then ends.

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Genres

Drama

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