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A nervous woman-shy office clerk, already troubled by an amorous female co-worker, suddenly has to deal with a very forward and attractive young woman who has sneaked into his apartment - and doesn't want to leave.
Edward Everett Horton,
Patsy Ruth Miller,
A young American girl visits Paris accompanied by her fiancee and her wealthy uncle. There she meets and is romanced by a worldly novelist; what she doesn't know is that he is a blackmailer who is using her to get to her uncle.
The Clements father and son live by the generosity of rich women. Max, the son, sets his sites on Lady Joan, who is rich, but down-to-earth and charming. At her house he meets Rosine Brown, an Austrian widow involved with a rich man. Instantly infatuated with her, Max pursues Rosine until she relents and agrees to marry him. But the elder Clement loses 4500 pounds gambling and Max decides he must marry Joan to prevent his father's imprisonment.Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Based on the play "The Truth Game" by Ivor Novello which opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., on December 27, 1930 and ran for 107 performances until March 1931. See more »
It's quite simple: I have nothing, you have plenty. Swell! Okay by me!
Mrs. Rosine Brown:
Oh, I see. You have no objection to marrying a rich woman?
No, none at all! Why should I? Suppose I had everything and you were poor: I wouldn't mind that; I'd adore it.
Mrs. Rosine Brown:
Oh... you mean to say, you'd be quite content to be supported by a woman?
Oh, she wouldn't be supporting me. We'd split.
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Here's a pre-code romantic comedy that today seems extremely politically incorrect in its depiction of male/female relations. It's derived from a play by famous U.K. matinée idol Ivor Novello, and he contributed both the screenplay and "continuity" to the film. I would think that female audiences today will find certain scenes and undercurrents offensive in their depiction of the male as the dominate force in a relationship. Anyone today viewing But the Flesh Is Weak would wonder as to the mentality of Novello, and his views on the female gender. I would think that his "hit-her-over-the-head-and-drag-her-away" clichés should had become outmoded even in the 1930's.
Anyway, Novello did rise to the occasion of providing an interesting entertainment, penning some nice dialog and creating some amusing characters. Film centers on young Robert Montgomery and his dad, C. Aubrey Smith, who are two sophisticated men-about-town in London. They are both seeking some rich noblewoman to provide their next supper, and they make the rounds by blending in with upper class society. After charming one difficult and eccentric lady play by Heather Thatcher, Montgomery's character quickly falls in "love at first sight" with a widowed socialite he meets the same evening at Thatcher's house party. Complications ensue, not aided by a catastrophic gambling debt run up by so-called "Senior," C. Aubrey Smith.
I have very high regard for Robert Montgomery, in his ability to be so affable, charming and easygoing. He's one of the great screen actors, and I never miss an opportunity to see one of his films. Just because he's so easygoing and charming usually is what makes him so effective when he become volatile, or even angry. He has a nice showcase here, even if the script seems now very sexist, almost worthy of disregard in that aspect of the plotting, since Novello's writing has Montgomery really and actually forcing himself on the leading lady. He not only refuses to take "no" as an answer, he even slaps her and kicks her out of a moving vehicle! Mongomery's work here shouldn't be dismissed though, and both him and great character actor C. Aubrey Smith make the movie enjoyable. There's a scene early on with them in a small bathroom that's a two-shot containing both actors. Smith goes through some elaborate business in clipping his mustache, but it's all for naught, since right next to him is Robert Montgomery stripping out of his clothes to take a bath. Poor C. Aubrey would have to have been well aware that all eyes would be on Montgomery.
One weak element in the movie is leading lady Nora Gregor, a heavily-accented European import who appears to be out of her depth here. She isn't very pretty or charming enough to cause Montgomery to fall instantly head-over-heels in love with her, and she accomplishes very little to make her character memorable.
Much better is the support from Heather Thatcher, as a monocle-wearing socialite with some eccentric habits, a good heart and designs on Robert Montgomery. She's offbeat and very likable, with her scenes being such highlights in the movie, that it's disappointing the offhand way the film dismisses her character. Nice comic relief comes supplied by wonderful Edward Everett Horton as a rival suitor of Nora Gregor and there's also silent film star Nils Asther who's perfect as a decadent and lascivious European prince.
Pre-code fans will surely get a kick out of But the "Flesh Is Weak." *** out of *****
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