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Susan and God

(1940 b 117')

En: 5 Ed: 6

Anita Loos adapted the play by Rachel Crothers about a woman who finds God and tries to change her friends, only to find she needs to change herself.

Drunk Barry Trexel (Fredric March) learns his wife Susan is returning from Europe. At her home Irene (Rose Hobart) asks Michael (Bruce Cabot) to be discreet. Susan Trexel (Joan Crawford) is welcomed by Irene, Charlotte (Ruth Hussey), Michael, and Hutchie (Nigel Bruce). Susan says that Millicent Wigstaff found God, and she wants to give love. Clyde (John Carroll) is left to tell Barry that Susan is not there. Blossom Trexel (Rita Quigley) wants to be with her father Barry and mother. Leonora (Rita Hayworth) says that actor Clyde got the part. Susan gives out religious pamphlets and urges Clyde to tell Leonora's husband Hutchie that he loves Leonora. Susan advises Charlotte to change. Barry comes back with flowers for Susan, and Charlotte tells him he is tight. Barry demands to see Susan but goes with Michael for a drink. Susan tells Irene her love for Michael is not spiritual. Irene tells Susan to improve her own life. Susan announces that she forgave Irene. Michael plays a confession scene. As Susan says he can change, Barry walks in and kneels before Susan.

Barry finds Susan in bed and learns she does not have another man; but now he won't give her a divorce, because he hopes he can change. Barry wants to help Blossom and asks Susan to let her live with them. Susan prefers divorce. Barry asks for one more chance; if he slips, he'll give her a divorce. Susan says they can only be friends. Susan tells others that Barry is saved. Irene gets upset and tells Michael it is off. Clyde says he is leaving so as not to be a villain. Susan and Barry come home. Susan complains about Blossom's clothes and makes servant Patrick (Aldrich Bowker) call her Susan. At dawn Blossom finds Barry returning from walking all night. Susan sees Barry is gone and skips her silent time. Susan calls Lady Wigstaff, but Barry and Blossom come back with fish. Barry tells Susan that she gave him pain, but he won't drink.

Six weeks later Barry and Charlotte ride horses, and he asks her why she has not married. Charlotte starts drinking. Susan introduces Millicent Wigstaff (Constance Collier) and others in the movement. They sing of giving instead of getting and of God. Susan helps Blossom be more attractive. Blossom wins over a boyfriend before her friends leave. Barry buys a colt for Blossom's birthday but finds Susan is moving. Susan tells Barry that Charlotte is in love with him. He asks Susan to stay with Blossom. Susan says that Leonora left Hutchie for Clyde. Susan says she will tell about Barry; he gets angry and stalks out. Drunk Barry drives into Charlotte's fence, and she joins him. Susan does not board her train and goes back home. She finds Blossom crying for her missing boyfriend. At an inn Charlotte nurses hung-over Barry, who says he is through with Susan. Irene tells Susan that Michael married someone else. Charlotte comes in, and Susan is jealous of her. Susan wishes Barry well with Charlotte; but he says Charlotte just refused to marry him. Barry says Susan can have what she wants. Susan says she needs to work on herself and asks him to hold her.

This drama explores how someone zealous from a religious conversion can affect the lives of others with her meddling; but her long-suffering husband helps her to realize that she has no great spiritual message but could perhaps make her own family happy.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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