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I am not sure I really understood the point of this film....and I think this goes for the writer as well!
Despite the fact that the film stars the ever erudite Ronald Colman, there just isn't much to recommend this bizarre Pre-Code melodrama. Much of it is because the message is muddled, inconsistent and bizarre...and the characters are completely unlikable.
Colman plays a very well-respected barrister who has every reason to be happy. And, he loves his wife and tells her and everyone else how lucky he is. Because of this, what follows really makes no sense. At the insistence of his 'friend' (Henry Stephenson in a VERY atypical sort of role for him), Colman takes one stupid step after another and is headed for an affair. Again and again, Colman says 'no'--and only seconds later, does exactly what this young lady wants. Now here is the weird part--although he spends time with the lady, tells her he loves her and kisses her, no sort of sexual relationship is even implied!! So, we are expected to believe he is now cheating on his wife BUT doesn't want to sleep with the lady! Huh?!? The young lady turns out to be a bit flaky. Although he insists repeatedly that he loves his wife and won't leave her, she persists in pushing him to do exactly this. Now considering that Colman plays a real wienie who always caves in, you can understand her expectations. But, when he continues to refuse to leave his wife, she responds by killing herself and the film tries very hard to make you feel sorry for Colman--who just seems like a giant idiot and an unlikable one at that.
So what is the point of the film? Should you have lots of affairs ONLY just be certain the ladies involved are non-suicidal? Is adultery okay as long as you don't 'do the nasty'? Can the audience care about a man's predicament when he creates it himself, is awfully unlikable and a dope? All I know is that I just didn't give a rat's behind for him or the story. A weird combination of Pre-Code morality and prudishness. Clearly one of Colman's worst films.
3 of 18 people found this review helpful.
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