The Divorcee (1930)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.

USA, 1930.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Treatment by , , Continuity and dialogue by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Robert Z. Leonard.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Sophisticated society drama about a woman (Norma Shearer) who decides to divorce her husband () after she discovers he has been unfaithful. The sparkling dialogue will be shocking to those who think of old movies as being perfectly innocent, but one must keep in mind that this film was made before the 1934 code that would have disallowed much of the subject matter being discussed here. Shearer is brilliant in the lead, deservedly winning an Academy Award for this early talkie, amply displaying her well-earned stature as the ‘Modern Woman’ of her time. Modern isn’t the word for this movie, though, because after an excellent start it descends into conservative morality that makes sure to keep the gals on a tight leash in the last reel.

Academy AwardBest Actress (Norma Shearer)
Nominations:  Best Picture; Best Director (Robert Leonard); Best Writing

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