Friday, 1 July 2011

Letty Lynton, Joan Crawford & Nils Asther (1932)

Joan Crawford and Nils Aster in Letty Lynton, 1932, dir Clarence Brown

Wealthy socialite Letty Lynton (Joan Crawford) is returning to New York, abandoning one-tine lover Emile Renaul (Nils Asther)  in South America, when she strikes up a shipboard romance with Jerry Darrow (Robert Montgomery). Renault is waiting for her in New York and will not leave her alone, so she poisons him.  (IMDb)


The fatal scene with the poisoned cocktail.

It is a feature with beautiful photography and good direction, but most of its incidents are implausible and the dialogue is often of the synthetic variety.
The opening scenes are in Montevideo, and one soon learns that a wild and wealthy young woman named Letty Lynton appears to have a great deal of difficulty in resisting the smooth talk and good dancing of a man known as Emile Renaud. One gathers that the affair between these two has gone far, for Emile appears to be sanguine that Letty cannot leave him.
Letty, however, does succeed in tearing herself away from Renaud. Aboard a vessel bound for New York, Letty, who has an elderly companion, Miranda, arranges to sit at Hale Darrow's table. Incidentally this rich young man also had asked to have Letty assigned to his table.
The scenes between Letty and Hale are moderately amusing, but the conversation between them strikes one as being an inexpert imitation of Noel Coward's dialogue. These two soon decide that they are in love, and Letty is highly gratified at having left Emile so far away. When the steamship reaches New York, however, Emile turns up on the pier. He had decided to take an airplane to meet Letty.
 Inasmuch as Emile has several very affectionate missives from Letty, is it not astonishing that she does not wish to have the two men meet? Do what she will to avoid Emile, he succeeds in trailing her and in threatening to publish her letters in the newspapers. On the night that Letty is to follow Hale to his home in the Adirondacks, Emile insists that she come to his apartment.
By that time Letty hates Emile and she is so distraught by his conduct that she pours poison into a vial, which she takes with her when she goes to Emile's apartment. It is to be presumed that she intended committing suicide, but it chances that Emile drinks the champagne into which she has poured the poison and that is the last of him.

behind the scenes - Nils Asther in the MGM commissary between takes

Letty Lynton has been unavailable since a US Federal court ruled on January 17, 1936 that the script used by MGM followed too closely the play Dishonored Lady (1930)... the film is unavailable even to this day save for some bootlegged copies. (Wikipedia)

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