Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise (1931)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
as Susan Lenox
as Rodney Spencer
as Karl Ohlin
as Robert Lane
as Mike Kelly
as Mme. Panoramia
Critic Reviews for Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise
Audience Reviews for Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise
Garbo and Gable's personalities are like oil and water but they look good together and the film is entertaining of its type.
Susan Lenox: Her Rise and Fall (1931) This really early talkie stars Greta Garbo as the Cinderella-like Helga. She runs away from her father, Karl Ohlin (Jean Hersholt) when she's promised to Jeb Mondstrum (Alan Hale Sr.) While on the run she meets and falls in love with a young construction engineer, Rodney Spencer (Clark Gable). When Rodney leaves on business, Helga has to flee from her father and joins the circus. (WTF?) and to be the plaything of the owner, Burlingham (John Miljan). Of course on Rodney's return, he's crushed to learn what terrible things his girl has done and is doing and scorns her. Later, Helga has taken on the name Susan Lenox and has become the mistress of a rich politician Hale Hamilton (Mike Kelly). However, when she learns that Rodney is working in South America, she rejects all and travels down to see him and try to re-unite. Garbo plays her typical suffering, victimized, misunderstood character, who falls, rises to prominence, and then chooses to fall again for the man she loves, but I guess that her fans wouldn't have it any other way.
I have a long history with this movie. The first few times I saw it, I didn't like it. But the more I watched it, the more I started to really get it. Initially, I thought that the filmmakers were trying to paint this really messed up relationship as being healthy and wonderful in the end. But I slowly started to realize that wasn't the case at all. This is a movie about two people so damaged that the only way they know how to work is by hurting each other. It's pretty advanced stuff for 1931, and definitely something that would have been able to be made outside of the code. Really, looking at Garbo's filmography, she played some very complicated and messed up characters.
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