An excellent piece of work in taking a legendary meller play and transposing it into a screen drama of strength and charm.
The beauty of the cast is that they make the characters believable. All are from the stage, while the dialog is such that it avoids petty pleasantries or overly dramatic orations. It amounts to an outstanding performance by Ann Harding, who is closely allied by Clive Brook and Cecilia Loftus.
Second line of defense is in the able hands of O.P. Heggie and Beryl Mercer. Heggie has somewhat less to do, but impresses as the girl’s father.
Joseph Urban’s settings are sumptuous and tasteful, evidently having been given a free hand in creating the interior of a big country home. Besides which there is an elaborate Viennese cafe interlude, as also a certain amount of footage given over to the Franco-Prussian war and the bombardment of Paris by the latter forces. It’s doubtful if Fox got out with less than $800,000 in production costs.
Frank Lloyd, who directed, has made everything count without lingering unnecessarily over any one episode. His only hint of a false note seems to be in the meeting of Isabel (Harding) and her father in Paris, where she pleads with him to seek permission from her husband to see her child.
1930/31: Nomination: Best Picture