Thursday, August 5, 2010

Their Own Desire (1929)

Don't worry, Bob!  I'll find your top hat if it's the last thing I do!

Usually I wince my way through early talkies; stilted dialogue and static direction makes them tough to sit through.  Not this one - and it's all due to the amazing chemistry between Robert Montgomery and Norma Shearer (which you'll see again in When Ladies Meet, Strangers May Kiss and the excellent The Divorcee). 

Lewis Stone plays Henry Marlett, a man having an affair and getting ready to leave his wife; when his daughter Lally (Shearer) finds out, she hardens her heart towards her father - and every man.  That is, until she meets John (Montgomery) while on a trip with her mother.  Are they meant for a life of romance?  Or are there circumstances at work beyond their control?

Snappy dialogue, good performances by the entire cast (Shearer was nominated for an Academy Award - ultimately losing to herself in The Divorcee), and a surprisingly exciting mix of romance and drama take this little soaper above the norm for its era. 

Plus, let's be honest.  Early, devil-may-care Bob Montgomery is always a delight to watch.  ;)

I give this one: 


Artman2112 said...

i saw this one once about 10-12 years ago and i cant remember if i liked it or not!
fwiw though i'll watch Norma in anything!

in some ways i agree with your comment about early talkies, a lot of times its a bunch of people sitting around a table talking it seems! but a LOT depends on the studio and the filmaker too. no way is an early Wellman WB's talkie ever static, but quite a lot of the ones made at MGM were imo. for instance compare Anna Christie to Public Enemy. i enjoy both of those films but PE by far has a much more filmic (is that a real word?) visual style while AC is basically a filmed play. Guys like Hawks, Wellman, Mervyn LeRoy and of course Hitchcock were excited by the new possibilites with sound while others, like Chaplin, werent so happy about it, lol.
most of Clara Bow's talkies are very dull productions, herself usually being the one source of spontaneous energy, usually more than enough to make it worth seeing many times over of course :)

i'm rambling again.....

silentsgirl said...

Private Lives is supposed to be quite a kick, too, but that one can be hard to find. I wanna see it, but haven't tracked it down yet.

KC said...

Have you seen Riptide? Norma and Robert had amazing chemistry in that one. I was also a bit nervous about the potential early talkie tech issues in Their Own Desire, but I agree that they were great together and the story moved along at a nice clip.

Raquelle said...

One of my top faves. I love this era in classic films. It really is the most enjoyable ( I got over the stiltedness).