19 user 9 critic

The Single Standard (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 29 July 1929 (USA)
The wealthy Arden Stuart is bored in a party; after refusing the wedding proposal of Tommy Hewlett, she drives her car with her driver to a lonely place. She has one night stand with him ... See full summary »


John S. Robertson


Adela Rogers St. Johns (from the novel by) (as Adela Rogers St. John), Josephine Lovett (adaptation) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Arden Stuart
Nils Asther ... Packy Cannon
Johnny Mack Brown ... Tommy Hewlett (as John Mack Brown)
Dorothy Sebastian ... Mercedes
Lane Chandler ... Ding Stuart
Mahlon Hamilton ... Mr. Glendenning
Kathlyn Williams ... Mrs. Glendenning
Zeffie Tilbury ... Mrs. Handley


The wealthy Arden Stuart is bored in a party; after refusing the wedding proposal of Tommy Hewlett, she drives her car with her driver to a lonely place. She has one night stand with him and returns to the party; then she witnesses the driver being fired by a relative and committing suicide. In a rainy day, Arden goes to an exposition and meets the painter and aspirant boxer Packy Cannon. They sail to the South Seas together in his sailboat and Arden falls in love for him. However, a couple of months later, Packy dumps her and brings her back to her city, traveling to China alone. The heartbroken Arden is proposed again by Tommy and gets married with him. Three years later, Arden meets Packy by chance and becomes divided between her unconditional love for Packy and the love for her son. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Greta at Her Flaming Best- Taking Love Where She Finds It- Like a Man! (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier-Express, ((Buffalo NY)) 28 August 1929) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Robert Montgomery and Joel McCrea, both at the start of their respective careers, make uncredited appearances in this film. See more »


Stuart's Butler: I'm a cad, Arden - I shouldn't allow you to be here...
Arden Stuart: Why shouldn't I be here - if you are - ?
Stuart's Butler: You're a girl - you can't get away with the things a man can...
Arden Stuart: What difference whether girl or man? Both have the right to - life - . I don't believe in half measures - I want to live honestly...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures released this movie in a totally silent version. See more »


Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.30 (1956) See more »


In Traffic Hours
Music by W.W. Lowitz
See more »

User Reviews

Garbo blooms in graceful romance
23 May 2001 | by rfkeserSee all my reviews

Silent film veteran John Stuart Robertson, once called the most well-liked director in Hollywood, had already guided John Barrymore , Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish in major projects. Here, under his sensitive direction, Garbo blooms in a relaxed and radiant performance, as she never did in her stodgy Clarence Brown vehicles. Was Robertson the silents counterpart of Cukor?

As a socialite seeking to "live honestly", Garbo first has a frank dalliance with her chauffeur, then meets artist Nils Asther--who apparently lives in an art gallery and paints exactly like Gauguin--and impulsively decides to sail to the South Seas on his yacht (although we only see Catalina, Robertson conveys a bracing sun-and-salt air quality from the shipboard locations). Returning to a somewhat scandalized reception in San Francisco, she marries local dullard John Mack Brown; meanwhile, the artist travels to "fever-haunted" China (where his hair inexplicably develops a white streak). Her final conflict is to choose between mothering her darling son or running away with the love of her life. What would Louis B. Mayer do?

Despite some talk about the "philosophy of love" and the injustice of the double standard, this is hardly Tolstoy: the film stays within the conventions of a novelette, never seriously threatening the social status quo. Still, the pleasures are many: graceful direction and nicely underplayed acting throughout, plus Garbo, at the peak of her beauty, in an elegantly tailored Adrian wardrobe, giving one of her most appealing performances.

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Release Date:

29 July 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Single Standard See more »

Filming Locations:

San Pedro, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$336,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(Turner library print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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