I missed Pre-code cinema so bad big issues were sure hard to find in Their Own Desire, the first talkie in Criterion Channel’s Written by Frances Marion collection. And while I could be blinded by my long time adoration of this brief film era, I fail to justify or fully comprehend the general public dislike of the film. Confessedly, this was one of those films I was looking forward to seeing for years but couldn’t get around it until now.
Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery were the main draw for me, but now, having watched her in Stella Dallas (1925) and being absolutely staggered by her performance, I was more excited to see Belle Bennett again, this time as the distressed Harriet Marlett, the mother betrayed by both her husband and daughter and left with little to no lust for life. I was not disappointed.