18 user 3 critic

-But the Flesh Is Weak (1932)

Passed | | Comedy | 9 April 1932 (USA)
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,... See full summary »


Jack Conway


Ivor Novello (play), Ivor Novello (dialogue)




Complete credited cast:
Robert Montgomery ... Max Clement
Nora Gregor ... Mrs. Rosine Brown
Heather Thatcher ... Lady Joan Culver
Edward Everett Horton ... Sir George Kelvin
C. Aubrey Smith ... Florian Clement
Nils Asther ... Prince Paul
Frederick Kerr ... Duke of Hampshire
Eva Moore ... Lady Florence Ridgway
Forrester Harvey ... Gooch
Desmond Roberts ... Findley
Learn more

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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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


IT STARTS OFF WHERE "PRIVATE LIVES" LEFT OFF. (Print Ad- Auckland Star, ((Auckland, NZ)) 5 November 1932)




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


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 »


Max Clement: 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?
Max Clement: 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?
Max Clement: Oh, she wouldn't be supporting me. We'd split.
See more »


Version of Free and Easy (1941) See more »

User Reviews

The Spirit Indeed Is Willing...
14 September 2010 | by mikhail080See all my reviews

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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Release Date:

9 April 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

But the Flesh Is Weak See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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