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A Free Soul

A Free Soul(1931)

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  • a free soul

    • kevin sellers
    • 11/11/15

    Interesting movie, poised as it is at the junction of the melodramatic silent films that preceded it, and the more realistic gangster films of the 30s and 40s that lay ahead. Embodying this division is Norma Shearer's performance, which is, alternately, understated (as in the great scene where she leaves her snobbish Pacific Heights family with bad boy Gable in tow) and over the top (the bathetic courtroom scene.) Ultimately, I feel the hysterical elements overtake the credible and drag this movie down, but before that happens there is some very good pre code stuff, such as Shearer's rather Oedipal relationship with her alcoholic father (Lionel Barrymore, in his best performance until Potter) in which his first line to her is that she's a looker, and she habitually addressing him as "Dear." As for Gable, I agree with previous reviewer, Don Riley, that he does scumbags quite well. Didn't realize he was that versatile. Let's give it a B minus. P.S Having seen four Norma Shearer films in the space of twenty four hours and having had a chance to assess her acting skills in both light and dark fare, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Selznick got it about right on the Scarlet casting call in GWTW.

  • Glad to See Gable's Character Get His Due !

    • DON RILEY
    • 11/11/15

    As a Viewer too often the Villain is a character you actually grow to like. But Gable's character here is so authentic and crude and "true to life" the audience actually is glad to see him get his due. At least that was my take. I actually hated the Gable character. Clark Gable created a brutish, chauvinistic, manipulative while authentic criminal who garnered no sympathy from me. I found his performance to be worthy of five stars.

  • A Free Soul

    • Dashiell Barnes
    • 7/19/12

    One of the most-remembered pre-code drama's. Barrymore won the Oscar for Best Actor as an alcoholic lawyer, Shearer was nominated as his daughter & Gable was a sensation because of this film. The famous monologue from Barrymore has become a dated piece of melodrama in an occasionally boring story. A drama that will be best known for it's ensemble & monologue. I give it a 3/5.

  • Let them eat cake

    • Jeff Boston
    • 7/18/12

    Another pre-code production with Prohibition drinking and Depression era errings of the idle rich, "A Free Soul" is quite the melodrama with Shearer's silent era-type overacting upon hearing bad news. Even with Gable's breakthrough and Barrymore's Oscar, what impressed me the most was grandma's gargantuan birthday cake and Shearer's chatter-inducing cheesecake in her first visit to Gable's private abode - very risque 81 years ago. Gable would give his female fans some beefcake 3 years later with his famous "no undershirt" scene in "It Happened One Night."

  • legendary gable

    • george snedker
    • 6/15/12

    this is the film that made gable such a legendary star and it's easy to see why the rest of the cast are so bland and dull compared to him.

  • A Free Soul (1931)

    • James Higgins
    • 12/4/09

    Extremely good early classic. Lionel Barrymore is terrific in an Oscar winning performance, Norma Shearer, as always is a delight. Fine writing, the expected fine MGM production values. Poor Leslie Howard, always seeming to get dumped for Clark Gable!

  • A Free Soul

    • Wendy Winkler
    • 2/8/07

    Norma Shearer is great in this precode film. I have to say for a movie made in the early 1930's, the movie, though dated in some ways, conveys the pain and heartache that family members go through with alcoholism.

  • A Classic Must See Film!

    • Movie Fan
    • 10/31/06

    This movie made Clark Gable. He convincinly portrays a tough smoldering vicious gangster who tries to corrupt and bring down the intoxicating high society girl very well played by Norma Shearer. An added plus in the film are the stellar performances by both Lionel Barrymore and Leslie Howard. Definitely a must see! PLEASE show this film again on TCM and RELEASE the movie on DVD!!

  • A "Buff-Must"

    • Barry Phillips
    • 3/8/06

    A sensation at the time. This film cemented Shearer's then-reputation as "First lady of the Screen" and portraying an animalistic gangster absolutely MADE Clark Gable. Although begging for an underscore (Thalberg hated music under dialogue), the story of a wealthy girl's introduction into things sordid has enough theatricality to balance the slow parts for buffs, but the datedness could be a problem for the layman.

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