A Free Soul (1931)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama, Romance


A Free Soul (1931) Poster

An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him.

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6.7/10
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  • Clark Gable and Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931)
  • Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931)
  • "A Free Soul," Norma Shearer and Clark Gable. 1931 MGM
  • Clark Gable and Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931)
  • Clark Gable and Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931)
  • Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931)

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18 May 2008 | laddie5
8
| A New Kind of Man in a New Kind of World
Yeah, yeah, it's Gable and Howard 8 years before Gone With the Wind, and even then the former makes the latter look like a eunuch. A number of posters seem flummoxed by this little coincidence and by the early-talkie theatricality of this movie. But for its time it really moves and breathes, particularly in the impressive scenes of Norma Shearer and Lionel Barrymore camping in the Sierras, trying and failing to leave their addictions behind and repair their broken relationship.

Technically, this movie may be primitive, but in terms of content and meaning you couldn't get it made today: it's the story of a woman who uses a thug only for her own sexual pleasure, and the baffled and violent way the men in her life react. All three of them are outwardly brilliant and successful -- the lawyer, the gangster, and the rich polo player -- but have their vanity and weakness exposed when confronted with a powerful woman making her own choices. Some of the quieter moments of this movie are pretty devastating.

p.s. strange how the myth that Gable "slaps" Shearer persists... are people really watching this movie? He shoves her back onto a couch twice, and that's it. The real violence is what she does to him by treating him as a boy toy.

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