movie, movie review

February 10th, 2017 Movie – Easy Virtue (1928)


Sometimes, there can be a benefit to having my alarm set as early as I do. See, I have my alarm set for 5am, which is when I used to get up for work but now use the time to watch a movie before going to work. Well my alarm went off yesterday morning but instead of getting up, I apparently laid back down and went back to sleep. So I guess I needed the sleep but I really could have done without the messed up dream I had. I did wake up early enough where I was not late for work but it made watching and reviewing today’s movie a little hard to do, which is why I am finishing it this morning. So that brings us to today/yesterday’s movie, an old Hitchcock silent film called Easy Virtue (1928).

The plot: Larita Filton is testifying at her divorce hearing and as her husband’s attorney is questioning her, she flashes back to the events that led her here. Some time earlier, Larita is having her portrait painted by Claude Robson, while her husband Aubrey watches and continually drinks wine. Claude becomes smitten with Larita and eventually writes her a note, asking that she leave Aubrey and marry him. At her next sitting, Larita refuses and Claude tries to persuade him but she continuously pushes him away. Aubrey shows up and catches Larita in Claude’s arms, and begins to fight with Claude. Claude grabs a gun to defend himself as Aubrey beats him with his cane, and Claude ends up shooting Aubrey. A servant hears the commotion and seeing what has happened, goes to get the police. Claude decides to commit suicide and as the police question Larita about what happened, Aubrey comes too and shows them the note from Claude and later files for divorce. Back in the present, the jury deliberates and rules in favor of Aubrey, as Claude had left all of his money to Larita. After the case is decided, Larita tries hiding her face to avoid being photographed, and decides to leave London and head to the French Riviera, choosing to go by Larita Grey to avoid unwanted attention. While living in the Riviera, she is watching a tennis match when one of the balls hits her in the eye. The person who hit the ball, John Whittaker apologizes and takes her to get some medical attention. As she is being tended to, John ends up falling in love with Larita and though reluctant at first, she finds his devotion helps ease the memories of her past. Some time later, John asks Larita to marry him and even though she asks if he wants to get to know her more, he says all he needs to know is that he loves her and she finally agrees to the marriage. After the wedding, they head back to London so that Larita can meet John’s family. Arriving at John’s family home, they are greeted by his father, Colonel Whittaker, and his sister Marion, who both seem to like her. However, when John’s mother meets Larita, she immediately dislikes her and after Larita heads up to their room, she tells John that she invited Sarah to eat with them, as she always hoped John would marry her. As they stay in London, Mrs. Whittaker is constantly mean to Larita, saying she knows her from somewhere but can’t remember where, and when John asks her to be nice to Larita, she agrees but only does so in public. After Mrs. Whittaker’s constant abuse, Larita asks John if they can go back to the Riviera and when John asks why she can’t be happy in England, Larita tells him that his mother hates her and is teaching John to hate her as well. Eventually, Marion sees a magazine with Larita’s picture and recognizes her as Larita Filton, and the issue is brought to the rest of the family’s attention. As John leaves the room, Mrs. Whittaker and the other women leave, while Colonel Whittaker tries to console Larita, saying that John loves her but she tells him he only loves his family. That night, the Whittakers are hosting a dinner party and Sarah, who overheard what had happened, goes to console Larita but Mrs. Whittaker stops her. As the guests arrive, Mrs. Whittaker tells them that Larita is upstairs with a headache whenever they ask about her. As the party commences, Larita makes a grand entrance, much to the displeasure of Mrs. Whittaker. As everyone’s attention is on her, she sees an old friend and asks if he was the one that told them about her but he denies it, saying that her secret was too big to remain a secret for long. Later, she admits to her friend that she made a mistake in marrying John and plans on getting a divorce from him. As she leaves the party, she tells Sarah that she should have been the one to marry John. Some time later, Sarah watches from the court room balcony as the divorce proceeding occur and can’t help but cry. A reporter recognizes her and as she is leaving, photographers approach her and she faces them and says, “Shoot! There’s nothing left to kill.”

This was not quite what I expected from a Hitchcock movie and to be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with it. The acting was good, though I will say that Robin Irvine (John) had a bit of a Joker smile going, which was a little creepy. The story was actually pretty good, but I fell like this would have been better as a talkie, since the dialogue could have helped get all of the different emotions across better. There wasn’t much as far as special effects and I can’t tell if it is just the copy I have or the fact that it is such an old movie but the film quality was pretty bad, with lines and shading effects occurring constantly.

Rating: 2 out of 5


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