A Free Soul (1931)

Feature Film | Drama | USA | English | 1h33m
Dir: Clarence Brown | Scr: Becky Gardiner | Novel: Adela Rogers St. Johns | Ph: William Daniels | Prod: Clarence Brown | Ed: Hugh Wynn | AD: Cedric Gibbons | Snd: Douglas Shearer | Cast: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, James Gleason, Lucy Beaumont

In Brown’s gripping melodrama, a good girl from a moneyed family falls for the considerable charms and exciting lifestyle of a handsome mobster, but makes a pact with her alcoholic defence attorney father to never see him again if he can give up the demon drink. Brown’s direction and Daniels’s photography impress, whilst the performances often prove scintillating. However, the plotting never entirely convinces, and Shearer’s melodramatic, silent movie thesping clashes somewhat with the generally naturalistic performances of the rest of the cast.