Friday, May 21, 2010

Private Lives (1931).

Private Lives (1931). Comedy. Director: Sidney Franklin. The screenplay by Hanns Kraly and Richard Schayer is based on the 1930 play of the same title by Noel Coward. Cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Reginald Denny and Una Merkel.

Elyot Chase and Amanda Prynne, divorced are upset to learn they both are on a honeymoon with their new spouses at the same hotel on the French Riviera. Elyot becomes annoyed with Sybil's questions about Amanda, while Amanda wishes her new husband Victor would stop talking about Elyot. When Elyot run into Amanda on the terrace, he insists he and Sybil immediately depart for Paris, the same plan Amanda proposes to Victor.

Elyot and Amanda rekindle their relationship with a kiss and make a promise to each other to put an end to any future arguments. The two flee to St. Moritz, but before long they begin a argument that turns into a major fight about a record, which Amanda breaks over Elyot's head. Rushing out, Amanda meets Victor and Sybil, who have tracked them down. The two couples meet for breakfast the next day, but when Victor and Sybil begin to fight, What do Elyot and Amanda do?

I thought the performance that really made this film work was Norma Shearer. One of the few silent stars to make a full transition to sound. PRIVATE LIVES, maybe my favorite, Norma Shearer film.

Jean Pierre Hersholt (12 July 1886 – 2 June 1956) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of Claire and Henry Hersholt, actors who worked with the Danish Folk Theatre.

Hersholt toured Europe performing with his family when he was young. He then graduated from the Copenhagen Art School.

His first two films were made in Germany in 1906. He emigrated to the US in 1913 and the remainder of his movies were made in America.

Hersholt's best remembered film roles: Greed(1924) and Shirley Temple's beloved grandfather in the 1937 film version of the 1880 children's book, Heidi.

During his long career in the movies, he played silent villains, secondary parts and his mild Danish accent and pleasant voice was perfect for him to perform as fathers, doctors, professors and European noblemen.

Hersholt's last role was in the 1955 movie Run for Cover. In the trailer for the film Grand Hotel (1932) Promotional flyer for Seattle station KIRO. In The Country Doctor (1936), a movie starring the Dionne quintuplets, Hersholt portrayed Dr. John Luke, a character based on Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, the Canadian obstetrician who delivered and cared for the Dionne Quintuplets. Two sequels followed.

In 1939 Hersholt helped form the Motion Picture Relief Fund to support industry employees with medical care when they were down on their luck. The fund was used to create the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, and it led to the creation in 1956 of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Academy Award given to an "individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry".

Hersholt's large collection of Hans Christian Andersen books is now in the Library of Congress. He translated over 160 of Andersen's fairy tales into the English language. These were published in 1949 in six volumes as The Complete Andersen, this work is "... rated as the standard translation, being one of the best" in English.

Hersholt was married to his wife, Via, in 1914. They had one child: Allan. He was the paternal half-uncle of the late actor Leslie Nielsen and former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Erik Nielsen. Jean Hersholt's grandson Gregg Hersholt has been a radio news broadcaster in the Pacific Northwest since 1973.  Hersholt died of cancer.


  1. Norma was a great actress and I would love to see more of her films. This Private Lives sounds really good. Thanks for posting Dawn.

  2. Monty, I saw the film, Private Lives (1931), on TCM for the first time today. Norma Shearer, performaces are always fun to watch.

  3. Besides the Women, I like Norma in Idiots Delight with Clark Gable, and REscape with Rpbert Taylor.

  4. Paul, More Awesome movies suggestions!!


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