"Forget "This Modern Age."" - Joan Crawford
"This Modern Age" 1931
Cast: Cast: Joan Crawford (as Valentine 'Val' Winters ), Pauline Fredrick, Neil Hamilton, Monroe Owsley, Hobart Bosworth,
Emma Dunn, Albert Conti, Adrienne D'Ambricourt, Marcelle Corday.
Valentine Winters (Joan) is a young woman from a divorced family who's determined to meet the mother (Pauline Frederick) she has never known. She finds her in Paris, now the high maintenance mistress of a rich Frenchman, a man she merely passes off as a 'friend' to her daughter. Valentine (Joan) gets caught up in some drama of her own when she is saved by a handsome Harvard football star, Robert (Neil Hamilton), rescuing her from a car crash caused by her high living boyfriend, Tony (Monroe Owsley). Love blossoms, relationships are strained, but true love wins out in the end. "This Modern Age" is a blend of drama, romance and comedy. The tried and true formula for 1930's Joan films. As usual it works, but it's fairly predictable.
Originally titled, Girls Together, from the story by Mildred Cram, a fifty dollar prize was offered to anyone on the crew
who could think of a better name for the film. "This Modern Age" was the winning entry. [www.afi.com].
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Reviewer, writerdonna7, says...
Review: There is much to enjoy about "This Modern Age," not the least of which is the sublime Art Deco backdrops
and sets in which the characters seem to move like Erte figures come to life. The black and white photography comes off as
more silver and cream than black and white because of all the chrome. It's also a buoyant, blonde, youthful Joan Crawford
who stars as Valentine Winters, the 19-year-old daughter of Diane ("Dee-ahn") Winters (the effusive, deliciously
melodramatic Pauline Frederick). Valentine shows up unexpectedly at Diane's swank home in Paris (Diane is a kept woman!) upon
the death of her father and although initially unsettled, Diane takes one look at the classy beauty who is her long-lost daughter
and embraces her. The admiration is mutual and mother and daughter quickly pick up their aborted relationship (aborted because
Pauline's father had been granted custody and Pauline was denied visiting rights). Soon Valentine is living the high life
with other young people in sexy, svelte gowns, smoking cigarettes, and tooling in big cars with beaus, her motto being "make
virtue of vice, never take anything seriously and always be amusing." An accident allows Valentine to meet Harvard football
man, Bob Blake, Jr. (Neil Hamilton) and quickly the two bright young things fall in love. But when Blake's parents come to
meet Valentine's mother, they quickly disapprove of the freewheeling lifestyle they observe there. Then Diane confesses to
Valentine that she is a kept woman and Valentine is shocked, but still wants the relationship with her mother. Ultimately
her mother nobly leaves for her daughter's sake, leaving Valentine distraught. Valentine also turns to an old boyfriend Tony
Girard (Monroe Owsley) when she discovers that young Blake disapproves of her mother, but will all end well for these two
cute kids? "This Modern Age" will tell you the answer.
Reviewer, Dbgbear777 , says...
Comment: And my oh my doesn't Pauline Frederick resemble Joan? In some shots it's eerie!
"Mordaunt Hall" of the New York Times had this to say, "A flaxen-haired Joan Crawford is the principal figure in "This Modern Age"...It is a film story which glides along merrily most of the time, but now and again it has its off-moments...Nicholas Grinde, director of this picture, has done splendid work by his comedy, but his serious interludes might have been handled more effectively."
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Online Reviews says, "This Modern Age" is a romantic melodrama aimed at a female audience.
It played to audiences of shop women of that era who fantasize that their lives could suddenly become glamorous. It's directed
by Nick Grinde from the story Girls Together by Mildred Cram. The screenwriters are John Meehan, Sylvia Thalberg, and Ms.
Cram. It is shot in black and white, and its tame soap opera morality tale belies its title as something modern. The acting
was high-strung on all fronts, with Joan Crawford offering a particularly high-handed performance.
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