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At Last "Letty Lynton"...


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This is one of those ?mythic? films, the 1932 Joan Crawford vehicle not available anywhere, not even for TV broadcasting, because it?s been in a legal tangle for decades and decades; the film in which Crawford wore one of the most famous outfits ever displayed onscreen, a beautiful Adrian creation, a white evening dress which was copied in its time and sold to eager female fans in Department Stores along the United States.


In this glossy film, Crawford plays the title role, a rich and spoiled heiress, who?s been living the ?wild life? in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay with debonair man-of-the-world Emile R?naul, played by Nils Asther only to regret it when clean-cut Jerry Darrow (Robert Montgomery) comes into her life.


This is a star-vehicle all the way, with Crawford being photographed in the most ravishing poses, positions, from the best angles; much care was put in the in the lighting and her make-up & wardrobe. Perhaps this is one of the films in which I?ve seen Crawford at her prettiest and sexiest, wearing a chain of exquisite, sophisticated Adrian designed evening dresses and suits, furs et al, all carefully designed to conceal her broad shoulders, which later became a trademark of hers. At this time she had not fully developed into the dramatic actress she later became, but in spite of some heavy melodramatics, her performance is good.


Her co-star Robert Montgomery has little to do in comparison but being well-bred and nice and he is good, as usual, at it. Nils Asther is the ?heavy? here and being a Swedish, believably interprets an European, evil, magnate who doesn?t want Letty let go; maybe his style of playing the continental lover (sometimes displaying heavy emoting) may seem somewhat artificial to modern audiences, but in all he?s ok as the villain, considering it was filmed in 1932.


One of the greatest rewards of the films is watching seasoned pros as Lewis Stone, May Robson, Louise Closser-Hale and Emma Dunn playing expertly their secondary roles. Robson is magnificent as Crawford?s long-suffering dowager mother; Closser-Hale endearing as Crawford?s loving personal traveling companion and maid; Emma Dunn, very sweet as Montgomery?s mother and Lewis Stone at his usual ?knows-best? as a D.A.


It is a shame that this film is not available for everybody to see, because it?s good and part of America?s Cinematic inheritance and history and should not be prevented from airing because of some 70 years-old legal entanglement. I?m grateful of having had the chance of buying a fair-quality copy from a private collector, but I would like to have the chance of seeing a sharp, clear, pristine transfer of the notorious ?Letty Lynton?.

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Feaito, I have always wanted to see this film just because of Joan's Adrian fashions!....But also to see

Mae Robson up against Joan Crawford in this film...

Always heard that Robert Montgomery didn't make much impact in this film now your review confirms that.

thanks again so glad you got a copy from a private collector & thanks for taking the time to share with all

of us movie buffs! lolite....

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Feaito, what a tease you are. When I saw the subject of this thread I thought we were all going to get a chance to finally see "Letty Lynton".

Well...at least you got hold of a scarce copy and got to see it and relate the glorious details to us.

Perhaps someday.



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Feaito, thank you SO MUCH for relaying some information about this obscure movie. As you know I've always wanted to see it, and I'm glad to hear that it's worth seeing. Someday I'm sure I'll get the chance, and until then, it'll be something to look forward to.


What I didn't realize is that May Robson, Louise Closser Hale, and Lewis Stone are all in it. They're all favorites of mine, and just seeing them in it will be a thrill as well.


And I think I know what you mean about Crawford's acting. Her acting in this is probably similar to her acting in "Possessed," which she made the year before. She's a little over the top, and not as "natural" as she was later on in her career, after many years of working at her craft. But just to see her in those incredible Adrian costumes, in those fancy settings must be great. It's pure 1930's MGM class. Or it sounds like it anyway. And I'm always happy to see Robert Montgomery, even if he isn't all that good.


Thanks again for the review!



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Welcome Joe,


I haven't seen "Possessed", but on the other hand I saw "Grand Hotel", which was released the same year as "Letty" (1932) and her acting was great in the former picture.


I think that the reason of this may be that in "Letty Lynton" she carried most of the weight of the picture, being her "Star Vehicle" and she had to portray a wider range of emotions (being less experienced) and in "Grand Hotel" she had less time on the screen and was one of the many stars which acted in it, so maybe it was an easier experience for her. In any case it shows that she made a huge acting effort and gave her best in "Letty".


As well, it may also be that Edmund Goulding (Grand Hotel) could direct/guide her better than Clarence Brown (Letty Lynton) in 1932.

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