Their Own Desire (1929)
Yet another early talkie about love, jealousy and divorce among the upper classes, Their Own Desire remains a dramatically stilted if technically efficient star vehicle. Lewis Stone is married to frumpy Belle Bennett, whom he leaves for the more streamlined Helene Millard. Stone's daughter, Norma Shearer, formerly a carefree member of the younger polo set, takes her mother's side on the issue and refuses any further association with the parent she once worshipped. In an attempt to forget her family problems, Shearer dallies with young Robert Montgomery and they fall madly in love. But he turns out to be Millard's son and Mother Bennett reacts to this alarming development by having fainting spells. Forced by circumstances to meet in secrecy, Shearer and Montgomery find themselves caught up in a ferocious storm on Lake Michigan and are reported missing. They have survived on an uninhabited island, however, from whence they are rescued by Stone, whom Shearer has forgiven. Parading a series of sleek gowns by Adrian, Norma Shearer performs one of her patented "restless debutante" roles with her usual elan but is somewhat defeated by Frances Marion's overly talkative scripts. Still, Their Own Desire did well enough at the box-office for MGM to re-team her with newcomer Robert Montgomery in the similar The Divorcee (1930), for which she earned an Academy Award. … More
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Critic Reviews for Their Own Desire
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Audience Reviews for Their Own Desire
Clunky, episodic early talkie is a good example of the rough edges that film went through in the transition from silent to sound. Most of the performers were silent stars and are obviously still adjusting their performing style to the different requirement of the microphone. Norma, who was inexplicably nominated for an Oscar for this overemphatic performance, is best in her speechless moments and Robert Montgomery, one of the few actors not moving from silence to sound but still new to films is awkward and overly fond of practically being on top of the other person in his scenes. The great silent star Belle Bennett, rather preposterously cast as Norma's mother they were only eleven years apart in age, is effective though some of her gestures also hark back to a more silent form of pantomime. The movie overall works best in those passages where dialogue isn't required. There is a lovely dancing scene that flows far more smoothly than any other in the film.More
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