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A Lady's Morals

(1930 b 87')

En: 4 Ed: 5

This story of Swedish opera star Jenny Lind focuses on her difficult romance.

During a snow storm a man is asked to vacate his room for opera singer Jenny Lind (Grace Moore). Paul Brandt (Reginald Denny) tells Jenny that her virtue has become a legend, but for her bed he asks her to sing a song he wrote. As she sings, he corrects her. After the song he impulsively kiss her, and she slaps him. He says that he fell in love when he first saw her. When she sings in the opera, Paul sneaks onto the stage holding a flag. He tells her maid Josephine that he hopes to have a private dinner with her if she comes home alone. She is alone but says that would not be proper. Yet she entertains him alone, and he tells her that he loves her, though he will not marry her because she "belongs to the world."

Jenny goes on tour and meets her rival Rosatti. After a difficult encore, Jenny collapses. Some fans call for Rosatti to finish the aria, and in the ensuing fight in the audience Paul is injured in the head. Later Jenny is sorry to see Paul; but he says he is not there to bore her but to present Zeerga to help her with her voice. Zeerge mistakenly mentions that he hopes Paul will recover, and Jenny discovers that the injury is affecting his vision. Jenny goes on a picnic in the mountains with Paul while his eyes are bandaged. When the doctor removes the bandage, he seems to see Jenny and Josephine; but he tells the doctor he barely could. Jenny sees Paul alone and sings for him. He writes her a note saying he is leaving.

P. T. Barnum (Wallace Beery) is giving out Jenny Lind cigars to promote her United States tour. Paul is now completely blind. His friend Olaf breaks through a window in order to talk to Jenny and give her a song written by a fellow Swede. Jenny asks people to find Paul. Barnum introduces her to an audience, and she sings a love song. Olaf brings Paul to her without telling him whom he is meeting. Jenny asks Paul why didn't tell her, and they embrace.

This story explores the difficulties a great opera star might have in romance, for Paul refuses to become the husband of a prima donna. Jenny Lind did in fact marry her accompanist, who was several years younger; she was promoted in America by P. T. Barnum; and she retired to a life of piety while still middle-aged.. This film combines a sensitive romance with opera music.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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