Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {A Free Soul}

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From 1931 A Free Soul is one of the most Pre Code of all Pre Code films. It was based on the book of the same name that I previously wrote about, but usually for adaptations, the film is more scandalous than the original novel. I prefer the novel in that it has more character development than the film and it explains why Jan is the free spirit that she is and more importantly it goes into the reason as to why Lionel Barrymore's character is an alcoholic. Plus, in the novel it's actually Ace who turns out to be the good guy and not the violent gangster that the film portrays him to be. However, the film does expand Leslie Howard's character of Dwight the polo player who's madly in love with Jan and will do anything for her, even kill to protect her sullied reputation.
A bra-less Norma Shearer plays Jan who meets the young Clark Gable, who plays Ace, a gambler, gangster and murderer. Ace sidles up to Jan and basically says "Hey baby, I think you're swell. Why don't you forget your boyfriend and come up to my place and spend the night. Sure, I'm no good for you and you're family hates me and I might knock you around a bit, but you like being pushed around and having me take advantage of your obvious Daddy issues and besides I haven't grown my Clark Gable moustache yet". The film goes on from there, but there's a happy ending, sort of.
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"C'mon. Put 'em around me"
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A Free Soul is available as a torrent and is only on DVD in Region 1 as part of the Forbidden Hollywood Collection Part 2

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