A Free Soul
|A Free Soul|
|Directed by||Clarence Brown|
|Produced by||Irving Thalberg|
|Written by||Becky Gardiner
Adela Rogers St. Johns
|Release dates||June 20, 1931|
|Running time||91 minutes|
A Free Soul is a 1931 Pre-Code film which tells the story of an alcoholic defense attorney who must defend his daughter's ex-boyfriend on a charge of murdering the mobster she had started a relationship with; a mobster whom her father had previously got an acquittal for on a murder charge. A Free Soul stars Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore, and Clark Gable (the first screen appearance together of the future Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler).
A Free Soul became famous for a sequence where Barrymore delivers a monologue that is said to be the main reason he won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year. (Norma Shearer was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Clarence Brown for Best Director.) Gable made such an impression in the role of a gangster who pushes Shearer around that he was catapulted from supporting player to leading man, a position he held for the rest of his career.
A Free Soul was released on DVD by Warner Home Video on March 8, 2008 (along with The Divorcee, also starring Norma Shearer), as one of five Pre-Code films in the "TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2" DVD box set.
- In credits order:
- Norma Shearer as Jan Ashe
- Leslie Howard as Dwight Winthrop
- Lionel Barrymore as Stephen Ashe
- James Gleason as Eddie
- Clark Gable as Ace Wilfong
- Lucy Beaumont as Grandma Ashe
According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2002), A Free Soul holds the record for the longest take in a commercial film, the final courtroom scene at 14 minutes. Since a reel of camera film lasts only 10 minutes, the take was achieved by using more than one camera.
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