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This Modern Age

(1931 b 68')

En: 4 Ed: 5

A young woman visits her divorced mother in Paris, meets her libertine crowd, and falls in love with a conservative Harvard man, who disapproves.

After her father dies, American Valentine Winters (Joan Crawford) goes to Paris to live with her mother Diane Winters (Pauline Frederick), whom she hasn't seen for 14 years. Val goes out with Tony Girard (Monroe Owsley), who won't marry her because he considers it jail. The tipsy Tony drives the car off the road. Bob Blake (Neil Hamilton) helps Val up and gets Tony from under the car. Bob and Val dump Tony on his bed. Bob declines a drink and takes Val home. André (Albert Conti) says goodnight to Diane, who meets Bob before he leaves. Diane tells Val not to fall in love, because she doesn't want to lose her. Bob asks Val to marry, and she kisses him. André tells Diane he wants to end their seven-year relationship; but Diane lied to Val and says she needs time. Val tells Tony she is engaged, and he says it's a mistake. Diane urges Val to marry right away; but Val wants a church wedding.

Mrs. Blake (Emma Dunn) and Mr. Blake (Hobart Bosworth) learn that Val's mother is divorced. Val visits them; she and Bob giggle as they crawl up the stairs, and he kisses her goodnight. Bob and Val have Diane invite his parents without her friends, and they play bridge; but Tony, André, and revelers come in. Bob overhears André complaining to Diane it is his house and tells Val her friends aren't good enough for her. When he says André owns the house, Val calls it a lie; but she learns it is true. Diane says she cares only for Val, and they move.

Tony calls on Val and says you can't cure something by hiding it, offering her a drink. Diane calls André and says she is free again. Tony and Val see Diane get out of André's car. Val is paying the rent and asks Diane to leave. Val calls Tony for fun. Bob finds Diane moving to André's and criticizes her. Diane tells Bob that she begged his parents not to judge Val by her mother's life. Bob asks Diane for another chance. Tony shows Val how to drink and kisses her, saying they can marry after they know each other. Bob comes in, and Val laughs. Then she angrily tells Bob not to rescue her and that she belongs to Tony. Bob carries Val out, and she slaps him; but then she sees her mother, who says that Bob wants to marry both of them.

This drama explores the changing morality of the modern age and the social conflicts that may result from differing views. Bob and his parents disapprove of Diane being a kept woman without marriage. The situation seems to be resolved when Diane agrees to be kept by Bob instead of André. Bob and Val love each other, and that is what matters to them.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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