Monday, October 19, 2009

Gloria Swanson Sings!

For those of us only familiar with Gloria Swanson's work in Sunset Boulevard, Indiscreet is a revelation. No, this is not the Cary Grant / Ingrid Bergman film, but a 1931 romantic comedy which is a lovely vehicle for Gloria Swanson's many talents.  The story centers around Gerry Trent; we come in on her life as she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend, Jim Woodward (Monroe Owsley).  We find out quickly that their relationship is more than casual when Gerry hands Jim his golf clubs from her hall closet! 

Several months later, Gerry meets and falls in love with Tony Blake (Ben Lyon).  After much consideration, she decides to tell Tony about her prior relationship. He accepts her confession, asks that she not tell him the name of the man, and tells her that he wants to marry her.  Problems ensue when Gerry's younger sister returns with her fiance - Jim Woodward. Gerry is horrified, and attempts to break up Jim and Joan (Barbara Kent). However, her attempts appear to Tony to be an affair with Jim, and Tony decides to leave for Europe.  All is resolved when Tony releases that he is being an idiot and goes back for Gerry. They will marry on the ship.

This is a total vehicle for Swanson, with director Leo McCarey using all her varied talents, comedic and dramatic.  Swanson's pantomime skills, as she tries to convince party guests that she is loony, are a joy, as is a similar scene when she tries to sneak aboard the ship on which Tony is leaving the country.  She will have you in stitches.  But, she also sings (and isn't bad); and her Gerry is so sweet and sympathetic that she has you rooting for her all the way.

This is a delightful movie; a real surprise, and I heartily recommend it.

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