The Flame Within (1935)

  |  Drama

The Flame Within (1935) Poster

Psychiatrist finds herself falling for her patient.

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  • Herbert Marshall in The Flame Within (1935)
  • Ann Harding in The Flame Within (1935)
  • Herbert Marshall and Ann Harding in The Flame Within (1935)
  • Edmund Goulding, Ann Harding, and Louis Hayward in The Flame Within (1935)
  • Herbert Marshall, Edmund Goulding, Ann Harding, and Louis Hayward at an event for The Flame Within (1935)

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21 May 2011 | wes-connors
| When Boyfriend Drinks
New York City "nerve specialist" (which means psychiatrist) Ann Harding (as Mary White) returns the love declared by physician Herbert Marshall (as Gordon Phillips), but she declines his offer of marriage because Ms. Harding wants to focus on her career. Marriage means Harding would assume the "housewife" role exclusively. After Mr. Marshall tends to suicidal young Maureen O'Sullivan (as Lillian Belton), he recommends Harding see Ms. O'Sullivan professionally.

Harding meets O'Sullivan as she is trying to kill herself yet again, by jumping out a window. The two women take a cigarette break. Then, Harding decides the best way to stop O'Sullivan from killing herself is to have regular sessions with… no, not O'Sullivan, but her handsome young boyfriend. Yes, Harding figures she needs to cure O'Sullivan by making alcoholic Louis Hayward (as Jack Kerry) stop drinking. Things get complicated when a new love relationship forms...

Harding barely gets through this story, with her elbow often protruded and some emoting close-ups. Marshall tries to maintain dignity, against all odds. O'Sullivan is pretty. While lower-billed, Hayward unexpectedly becomes the story focus. A-list director Edmund Goulding was successful enough to write, produce, and direct "The Flame Within" at MGM, but psychiatry based on seeing a patient's alcoholic boyfriend seems unprofessional. Some of it is unintentionally funny.

**** The Flame Within (5/17/35) Edmund Goulding ~ Ann Harding, Herbert Marshall, Louis Hayward, Maureen O'Sullivan

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