1 January 2013 | AlsExGal
Worth it for the unintended humor alone
This is a tale of a prosperous Hungarian farming family that takes in a gypsy girl (Myrna Loy as Nubi) who says she has run away from her tribe and will be beaten by her gypsy husband if reclaimed. They hide her, take her into their home as a servant, and come to regret that decision.
Although directed by the renowned Alexander Korda, he did a poor job here, possibly not having veto power over the diction coaches in this very early talkie. This is Loretta Young's first talkie and it shows. She is very good at conveying emotion, but she probably is the most wooden member of the cast in speaking her lines. In her next surviving talkie, "Loose Ankles", she has improved tremendously. ZaSu Pitts is endearing, what little we get to see of her. As dizzy and well-meaning as ever as servant girl Lena, she is captivating even under all of those peasant petticoats.
After watching Nubi laze around the house not doing her work, seducing all the men of the house to the point she has the servant man singing a ballad to a bovine, and enticing the son in the house, Paul, to steal Lena's life savings to buy her an expensive necklace you've got to wonder - Why didn't they just throw the dame out? The parents had to have figured that Paul's allowance disappearing and Nubi practically slumping from all of that fancy jewelry she was suddenly wearing had to have some correlation.
I have seen some early talkies that are poorly paced, but this one should hold your interest, if only from the standpoint of watching the clean-up of a multi-vehicle accident from which you cannot turn away. There is one interesting rather precode line spoken by the father to the mother when talking about Nubi carrying on with Paul. The mother believes Paul has stopped paying attention to his fiancée because he is in love with Nubi. Dad is more insightful - "Paul is not interested in love, he's interested in sex!"
Recommended, if only to see how Loretta Young and Myrna Loy started out in talking pictures.