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Their Own Desire
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"Forty-five? And falls in love?" Lally Marlett laughs off the thought that her middle-aged father could still feel the flame of romance - until he runs off with another woman. Shocked and embittered, Lally accompanies her mother on a vacation in an attempt to put the past behind them. But the past catches up when she falls for a polished charmer who, unknown to her, is the son of her father's paramour. Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery headline Their Own Desire, scripted by woman's-picture screenwriter extraordinaire Frances Marion (Dinner at Eight, Camille). Marion shows her skill at heartbreak by packing star-crossed love, infidelity and two near-death experiences into a brisk 64 minutes of romantic melodrama.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.5 Ounces
- Director : E. Mason Hopper
- Media Format : Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 4 minutes
- Release date : July 7, 2010
- Actors : Norma Shearer, Belle Bennett, Lewis Stone, Robert Montgomery
- Studio : MGM
- ASIN : B003GWDT34
- Number of discs : 1
Best-sellers rank #95,796 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
#6,470 in Romance (Movies & TV)
#21,195 in Drama DVDs
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Norma Shearer is slimmer then in any of the other movies I have of this Great Lady,very sexy!
I like how this movie takes the time to build up the characters, always a trademark of screenwriter Frances Marion. A great deal of time is spent in the beginning to show the respect and friendship wealthy author Marlett has with his only child, Lally (Norma Shearer). Then a tell - she asks her dad as they walk up the drive, what book he is working on. He says it is a romance involving a 45 year old man. She, about 20, laughs at the idea. Marlett says that the middle aged are made of flesh and bone too. That life is not over at 30 as youngsters think, and that they thirst for romance, that "last" romance, indicating that dad might be thirsty. When they get to the top of the drive, the slender and glamorous Mrs. Chevers is talking to Lally's mom about her son, Doug, who is away at Princeton. Lally's mom is graying, a bit overweight, a bit sedentary, and Marlett calls her affectionately "mama". Indicating that he thinks of her as first Lally's mom - and a good one - and then a wife.
A year passes and Marlett and his wife are planning to divorce, as is Mrs. Chevers from her husband, but Lally yet knows none of this. She walks into her dad's study and catches Mrs. Chevers and her father in a passionate embrace, talking of marriage. Then her dad tries to justify it. He says that he and her mother are not the same boy and girl who made all of those promises 23 years before. I like Lally's translations - that perhaps he sees her mom as a fat and a bit boring "unlike the slick Mrs. Chevers". He says he intends to keep the house. She reminds him that doesn't matter to her since her mom is being bundled out of that house and Mrs. Cheever is being brought in to replace her. Lally says her final goodbye to him and plans to never marry because she will not be made a fool of as her mother has been, and the male sex has fallen mightily in her esteem because of her father's fall, which he won't even acknowledge as a misdeed.
So off go mother and daughter for a summer vacation before mom goes to France for a divorce, which was the custom in that day. When Lally reiterates her vow to never marry, her mom is happy, which seems odd. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Marlett is not succeeding at hanging out at his old haunts with his new mistress. They both get the cold shoulder from everyone. I'm not sure why this scene was in here other than to show that people did pass moral judgment on affairs and homewreckers at that time, and that a smooth transition did not await them both if they proceed.
On vacation, Lally meets a guy (Robert Montgomery) who really fancies her. They dance, they enjoy each other's company, and maybe Lally is softening on men just a bit until she discovers his full name - Jack "Doug" Chevers - son of the woman who has ousted her mother, a symbol of why she decided to not take men seriously in the first place.
So Lally is one confused girl. She has a mom who encourages her to play the field due to her own bad experience with marriage. She has a dad who thinks "until death to we part" is just a phrase people like to kick around at weddings, and she has a beau who is insisting on marriage now - as in right this minute. How will this all work out? Watch and find out.
This is very good writing by Frances Marion who had already had a couple of short lived marriages that did not work out and one that did that ended in her husband's sudden death just the year before. Thus she could approach this subject of love from the viewpoint of someone who had seen all of the angles. I'd highly recommend it.
The plot is fairly simple. Norma Shearer plays Lottie, the adoring and adored daughter of Lewis Stone. All seems to be going well within the family including Lottie's parents long term marriage until Stone tells his wife (played by an appropriate aging Belle Bennett) that he has become entangled with a much married woman who has pizazz. Without so much as a second thought, Stone sets the wheels in motion for a divorce so he can wed the middle aged temptress (Helen Millard). Not surprisingly, Lottie washes her hands of her father and wants nothing to do with him or his gal pal. Complications occur when Lottie meets and falls in love with her future stepmother's son (Robert Montgomery). The rest of the movie plays on Lottie's feelings of conflict and a tense storm which helps Lottie's true feelings to rise to the surface.
My objectivity goes out the window with this film as I am a huge Shearer fan. She really milks this role for all it's worth and she is in her prime and looks lovely. The supporting cast is quite good and they play off one another convincingly.
The most compelling reason to see this movie is that it is not only interesting, but it also is an early example of the type of role Shearer would dominate in during her tenure as the queen of the MGM lot.
As for the print of this movie, forget it. Not remastered as this is from the Warner Archive which is manufactured by demand.