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Strangers May Kiss

Strangers May Kiss(1931)

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According to the Variety review, the ending of this picture differs significantly from the Parrott novel on which it is based. In the book, Lisbeth commits suicide after waiting for years for Alan to return. The film marked actor Neil Hamilton's first picture for M-G-M. According to M-G-M publicity material, Robert Montgomery, while filming a scene in which he impersonated a bull in a bullfight, sustained an injury when the "matador thrust cane jabs into his ribs to ward him off." An August 1931 Film Daily news item notes that a Spanish version of Strangers May Kiss was to be directed by Emile de Recat and written by Racquel Nieto (also known as Racquel Delmar). No further information on the production or release of a Spanish version of the film has been found.
       The file for Strangers May Kiss in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains an AMPP inter-office memo dated April 13, 1931, in which an AMPP public relations official wrote, "it would be difficult for me to exaggerate my revulsion at this picture and my sense of horror that our present set-up is permitting product of this type to go through." The official also suggested that the film "is a reflection of the initiatory stages of the degeneration of a people. It embodies and personifies the warped moral sense which has disintegrated every previous civilized nation." Furthermore, the official stated that "either by design or by reason of inablility to act an ingenue part, Miss Norma Shearer is silly and unattractive when she is supposed to be a pure young thing...having her first love affair, but she is very attractive and appealing after she has become a high-class harlot."
       Following the release of the film, the AMPP received a letter of complaint from the Mexican consulate, which said the film contained "scenes derogatory to the customs of the Mexican nation." The Mexican consulate threatened to decree an embargo on all M-G-M films unless the film was withdrawn from circulation. By December 1931, many of the scenes in question were deleted and the controversy was apparently resolved. The MPAA/PCA file also indicates that the film was rejected by censors in Hungary and Ireland.
       Modern sources list actors Bess Flowers (Dining extra), Karen Morley (Dining companion), Wilbur Mack (Dining companion), and Kane Richmond in the cast. Modern sources also indicate that Norma Shearer made this film shortly after giving birth to her son, Irving Thalberg, Jr., and that she was worried about the effect the pregnancy would have on her appearance in the picture.