A Free Soul
Independent Films, Film Profiles
A Free Soul (1931) is a Pre-Code film which tells the story of an alcoholic defense attorney who must defend his daughter's ex-boyfriend on a charge of murdering the mobster she had started a relationship with; a mobster whom her father had previously gotten an acquittal for on a murder charge. A Free Soul stars Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable (the first screen appearance together of the future Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler).The movie was adapted by Becky Gardiner and John Meehan (dialogue continuity) from the play by Willard Mack, which was based on the book by Adela Rogers St. Johns. It was directed by Clarence Brown.A Free Soul became famous for a 14-minute uninterrupted take where Barrymore delivers a monologue that is said to be the main reason he won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year. (Norma Shearer was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Clarence Brown for Best Director.) Gable made such an impression in the role of a gangster who pushes Shearer around that he was catapulted from supporting player to leading man, a position he held for the rest of his career.A Free Soul was released on DVD by Warner Home Video on March 8, 2008 (along with The Divorcee, also starring Norma Shearer), as one of five Pre-Code films in the "TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2" DVD box set.
Year of Production: 1931
Length: 91 min.
Country: United States
- Clarence Brown
- Irving Thalberg
- Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable