Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Their Own Desire (1929)

I've crossed off one more Robert Montgomery film from the "To See" list (down to three now), Their Own Desire.

It's an early talkie, and it shows (or would that be "hears"), but you get over it quickly. I'm never good at giving film overviews (just comments), so allow me to grab this from IMDB:

Lally is a rich girl whose Father who writes books and plays Polo. After 23 years of marriage, Father decides to divorce Harriet, his wife, and marry Mrs. Chevers who is also divorcing her husband. This sours Lally on all men, but on vacation she meets Jack, who succeeds in stealing her heart. The trouble begins when Lally discovers that Jack is the son of Beth Chevers, the woman who is to marry her father.

The first 15 minutes of the film - love it. Jack (Bob) & Lally (Norma Shearer) meet at an art deco pool, set on the shores of Lake Michigan. How Jack "picks up" Lally is priceless - she high-dives into the pool and gets a kiss from a total stranger underwater. That night, there's a party poolside where everyone is dressed to the nines. The filming of the scene is unique in how the camera makes its way through the dancers to Jack & Lally. It's the atmosphere...sigh.



From there, IMO, the film gets a bit melodramatic. The couple is just dying to be together (almost literally) and one late night, they sneak away to the lake. Spoiler Alert. While on an island, a storm approaches and Lally is desperate to get back to her mother (she is suicidal from the breakup). Frantically paddling back home, the storm tosses the boat and washes them up on a deserted island. Days pass and Lally gets a bit overprotective over Jack's limp body - is he dead? Following searches by air, Lally's father finds them and, well, everyone makes it out alive. The movie cuts off way too early with the two contemplating marriage, again. I couldn't help but think that Jacks' mother & Lally's father won't get married - they displayed some behavior that to me read that they weren't quite ready. Perhaps the love of their kids' relationship would trump their own.

One last observation, I had to check and see how many islands there are in Lake Michigan for Jack & Lally to get stranded on - I could only think of one. Wikipedia is listing five named islands. You learn something new every day...

Now jump on over to Laura's blog where she has some interesting info on location filming for Desire.

10 comments:

Laura said...

That was a really atmospheric scene -- how interesting someone put it on YouTube.

Enjoyed your thoughts -- and the research on islands in Lake Michigan!
I added a link to your post to my post on the film.


Best wishes,
Laura

Carrie said...

>> I added a link to your post to my post on the film.

Thank you, ma'am!

stellypippin said...

I've never seen this movie, funnily enough, yet from all the stills I've seen, it's definitely a movie I must watch!

Thanks for the clip - wow, it looks interesting and fun, nonetheless :D!!!

Laura said...

I just started watching THE DIVORCEE for the first time, and I see Bob has the same dance style as in THEIR OWN DESIRE. I'm not sure I've seen a man hold a lady's arm in quite that position but maybe I just haven't watched enough pre-Code movies (or Robert Montgomery movies) yet!

Best wishes,
Laura

Carrie said...

You've noticed that too, eh! I recall having a discussion online somewhere on that same topic. Of all the old films I've seen, I can't remember seeing any other actor with that dance style. I honestly don't know if it was a personal preference or something forgotten over time. I have to admit, it's unique!

Carrie said...

Stel - it's certainly a movie that remember the atmosphere more than the story!

Laura said...

Is it just me, or did Montgomery whistle a couple bars of the dance scene music from THEIR OWN DESIRE in THE DIVORCEE? :) I finally have had a chance to watch more of it this evening.

Enjoyed hearing your thoughts on his dancing!

Best wishes,
Laura

Carrie said...

Hmm, I didn't catch that. I might just have to research that ;)

Laura said...

Let me know what you think! I played part of the YouTube video to refresh my memory, and I think it's the same music. He whistles it at two different points in the same scene when he first brings Jerry home to her apartment the day she's learned about her husband.

THEIR OWN DESIRE came out roughly three months before THE DIVORCEE, so if they were made in close conjuction it either could have been intentional or just something that happened to be on his mind. Would be fun to know...if, that is, I'm even correct in the first place! :) I may have to do a closer comparison myself, LOL. Thought he was terrific in THE DIVORCEE. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to try so many of his films for the first time, I am really acquiring a deep appreciation for Mr. Montgomery.

Best wishes,
Laura

Best wishes,
Laura

Carrie said...

Ahh, we're turning you into a true Bob fan :)

Drop me a note when you have a few carrie @ classicmontgomery dot com