Lally is a rich girl whose father writes books and plays Polo. After 23 years of marriage, he decides to divorce his wife, and marry Mrs. Chevers. This sours Lally on all men, while on ... See full summary »
Park Avenue party-girl Mary (Norma Shearer) and staid English nobleman, Lord Phillip Rexford (Herbert Marshall) are married on a lark, they live happily in London. He must travel to America on business leaving her home alone. Lord Rexford's aunt invites Mary on a trip to the Riviera where she runs into an old flame, Tommie Treal (Robert Montgomery). Under the spell of the sea breezes and the Mediterranean moon (a semi-excuse for adultery to keep Queen Norma's image clean, as this was a post-Production Code film), Mary is the "innocent" victim of a romantic escapade that makes headlines as well as the scandal sheets. None of Mary's explanations can soothe Lord Phillip, his cold indifference drives Mary, who fights against it (a minor and feeble struggle at best), closer to Tommie. As the two lovers surrender to their ardor, Lord R. learns from his lawyer that Mary had been telling the truth, and he calls for her to join him in Cannes with a clean slate. O.K, but as Chief White Eagle ...Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This film's plot and structure are uncannily similar to Norma Shearer's Academy Award-winning The Divorcee (1930) -- however, Riptide (1934) was made just as the Production Code was coming into power, which resulted in a fatal absence of pre-Code sting, despite its libidinous, adulterous scenario. The film's only pre-Code remnant is Shearer's revealing, bosomy evening gown, under which she wore no bra. See more »
The length and styling of Norma Shearer's hair repeatedly changes from scene to scene and from one sequence to another. See more »
We could be happy, too, Mary. Two people like us.
I am happy.
No, I mean two kindred spirits, like you and me.
They could, eh, they could sleep all day. They could get up just when the evening was gonna get gay and they could dance and take long walks into the moonlight. Then, back and change and out on horses and riding into the dawn. Just when everybody else was waking up to face the day, they could be flitting in and out of warm shower baths and pulling down the blinds on trouble and ...
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Norma Shearer teams up with Robert Montgomery again in "Riptide" which also stars Herbert Marshall as part of a love triangle. There isn't too much special about this, but the beginning scene, with Marshall dressed as an huge insect and Shearer as a spider is very funny. Having just finished Shearer's bio by Gavin Lambert, it speaks of figure problems she had, particularly with her legs, and how hard she worked at being in shape. It paid off. She is absolutely beautiful in this film.
It's always difficult to realize that evidently, Herbert Marshall was once considered a romantic leading man, but given this movie and "Girls Dormitory," which I saw recently, I guess he was. In this, he sweeps playgirl Shearer off of her feet; they marry and have a daughter. After five years of wedded bliss, he goes on a business trip. While he's away, Norma meets old friend Montgomery at a party. He's always been crazy about her. They get drunk, kiss, and she runs for it. The next thing she knows, he's fooling around outside her window and throws himself off of her balcony. Scandal. Hubby comes home to headlines. Doesn't know if he can believe that nothing went on since the scripts hints that she was a slut while she was single. Marriage strained. Etc.
This kind of story is a little hard to take these days, but Shearer and Montgomery are very good. In comparison to their lively performances, Marshall is rather dull - which is the point, so it's appropriate.
The amazing thing about "Riptide" is an appearance by Mrs. Patrick Campbell, a theater icon. She's excellent as Marshall's aunt. I've often wondered if some of the early stage luminaries were as good as everyone claimed, but after seeing Campbell and the Barrymores in film, they sure were. For this reason and because it's pre-code, "Riptide" is worth seeing.
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