Thursday, February 10, 2011

Norma Shearer in "Their Own Desire"

Norma Shearer received her second Oscar nomination for Lally Marlett in Their Own Desire.

Their Own Desire is a typical early talky melodrama that is a bit entertaining. A little too theatrical, but it's early melodrama, so if you go into this expecting some modern day take on storytelling, look elsewhere. The story follows a daughter whose father is divorcing (gasp) his wife and leaving her for another woman. She begins to hate men, until she takes a vacation where she falls in love with a man who ends up being the son of the woman her father left her family for.

Norma Shearer was such a fascinating actress - I could easily see how some could criticize her, but for me, she is a force of nature of screen, especially in these kinds of projects where she shines. Shearer captures Lally's youthful innocence and wisdom wonderfully - she brings smiles and humor the role that are wonderful in it's simplicity. When the drama approaches, Shearer never goes over the top with her performance, which is amazing because the role called for her to go spastic, yet Norma underplays most of the character's emotions. One could call it underwhelming, but for me, it worked.

She works so incredibly with the character - making her fascinating with her emotions.

At the top of her game, or just beginning? Norma Shearer proves herself very early, to have a great presence on the screen. She slides through the role with a cool and an ease that is amazing for a 1930 film - it's supposed to be controversial for it's time, but comes off as melodramatic. The only thing that holds it together is Norma's tough, yet vulnerable performance.


Louis Morgan said...

Shearer certainly has a presence, but she also can be incredibly dull. I have not seen this one though.

dinasztie said...

I loved her in The Divorcee.

joe burns said...

Never seen her, but it sounds like she's almost a five for you! You seem to love it!

Is it hard to find, by the way?

Sage Slowdive said...

I do :) Shearer can transport you to another time. I assume it is, but TCM is running it's Oscar marathon, so who knows, it might pop up.