Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) [1931]

7/10 | 4.Jun.12
Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise)

DIRECTOR: Robert Z. Leonard  |  WRITERS: Edith Fitzgerald,  Leon Gordon,  David Graham Phillips, Zelda Sears, Wanda Tuchock, and 17 more  |  CAST: Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, John Miljan, Jean Hersholt, Alan Hale, Hale Hamilton, Hilda Vaughn, Russell Simpson, Cecil Cunningham  |  USA

Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) is such a bizarre movie in so many ways, but it’s frustrating at the same time because whenever the movie settles on a style or takes an interesting turn it stops and does something else instead. This may be because 21 different writers reportedly worked on the screenplay. Bryce David, a user-reviewer on IMDb, put it this way:  “the movie is like one of those action packed serials, but instead of showing a hero going from one pitfall to another, SUSAN LENOX is a melodramatic serial, where our heroine goes from one melodramatic pitfall to another, with very little time to digest one situation from the next.”  What might have been! Garbo is even more than usually riveting: I can’t think of anyone who comes near Garbo in her ability to convey fleeting, almost imperceptible, emotions on her face. Garbo’s love interest here, a young and moustache-less Clark Gable, gives a hit-or-miss kind of performance, occasionally strictly amateur theatrics but with flashes of the manly-man icon he was to become. A fascinating movie for what it could have been and definitely worth seeing. It pains me not to rate it higher.

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