Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Free Soul (1931)

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

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Director: Clarence Brown
Best Actor: Lionel Barrymore (WINNER)
Best Actress: Norma Shearer

In a movieworld dominated by trailers and spoilers, it's nice to see a film you know so little about. I had little expectations while watching A Free Soul, but I quickly became involved in the story. While it's not a masterpiece, nor a very complex film, it sure tells an interesting story and the acting is quite good.

What also impressed me is the way some scenes were shot, and I'll give credit to the director for that. Norma is a delight and I can totally understand why Lionel Barrymore won his Oscar for this - it could easily be classified as more of an Honorary win, given he was a veteran actor; but there's plenty of good stuff in the performance. Where it does disappoint a bit is in the screenplay: the final scene especially is really out of nowhere, and also Leslie Howard is not giving his best.

My rating for the film: 7/10. Clark Gable creates a charistmatic bad boy.

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