Movie Mirrors Index

If I Were Free

(1933 b 66')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Two people from unhappy marriages fall in love, but he can't get a divorce in this adaptation of John Van Druten's play Behold We Live.

In Paris Gordon Evers (Clive Brook) takes his friend Hector (Henry Stephenson) drinking, saying his wife Catherine wants a divorce. Tono Cazenove (Nils Asther) points a gun at his wife Sarah (Irene Dunne); but she refuses to go with him to Cannes to stay with his mistress. Gordon meets Sarah and gets her to give him the gun. They are both lonely and reflect on life. Gordon asks Sarah to come to England, and he throws the gun in the river.

In England Sarah is divorced, has a shop, and is doing interior decorating. Gordon and Sarah discuss her books, and he tells her his wife Katharine has asked for a divorce. Gordon tells Sarah he loves her and asks if she would marry him if he were free. They go to his mother's charity bazaar. Gordon asks Katharine (Lorraine MacLean) for a divorce; but he has to tell Sarah his wife no longer is willing to divorce now that his prospects as a lawyer are better. Sarah wants to live for Gordon, and they visit his favorite place. Tono comes to Sarah's shop and tries to sell her his Paris antiques, expecting Gordon to provide the money. Gordon comes out of court and complains the wig is a worse punishment than the criminals get. He tells Hector he still has a bullet in him from the war.

Hector tells Sarah she is doing Gordon harm, and the talk may prevent him from becoming a judge. Sarah says she wants to love Gordon unselfishly and will stop seeing him. Gordon learns that an operation is inadvisable and that he has a year or two to live. He gets a note from Sarah indicating she no longer will see him. Hector tells Gordon he intervened. Gordon decides on the risky operation and asks Hector not tell Sarah. Sarah is preparing to sail for New York when Gordon's mother tries to persuade her to stay, saying that Gordon has only a year to live. Dame Evers gets a call and says Gordon is having the operation. Sarah waits while he is unconscious. Sarah asks Katharine if she can see Gordon, but she says no. The doctor says that Gordon is calling "Sarah." Sarah sees Gordon and cries. Gordon tells her it has been wonderful and asks her to sing to him. In the final scene they are reclining in a boat rowed by Hector. Gordon asks Sarah if this is heaven, and she says it is.

This story explores how two people who made unfortunate marriages can learn to love each other. The process is made difficult by Gordon's wife; but in the end his mother asks Katharine to take the change graciously, and the couple find their own private heaven with a friend.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index