The Single Standard
|The Single Standard|
|Directed by||John S. Robertson|
|Written by||Josephine Lovett
Adela Rogers St. Johns (novel)
Johnny Mack Brown
|Music by||William Axt|
|Cinematography||Oliver T. Marsh|
|Edited by||Blanche Sewell|
|Box office||US$ 1,048,000|
Arden Stuart (Greta Garbo) believes that a single standard of conduct should apply to both sexes. She strives for a combination of freedom, equality, and honesty in love. Her first attempt is with chauffeur Anthony Kendall, who is secretly a disillusioned "ace aviator" and son of a lord. However their romance ends in disaster; he commits suicide when he is fired because of it.
Her longtime admirer Tommy Hewlett (Johnny Mack Brown) wants to marry her, but Arden finds fulfillment in a chance encounter with Packy Cannon (Nils Asther), a wealthy ex-prizefighter turned painter. He had planned to cruise the South Seas on his yacht alone, but she impulsively goes with him. After months of idyllic bliss however, he turns around and takes her home, explaining that he needs his full attention for his painting.
Though Tommy knows of Arden's love for Packy, he begs her to marry him anyway. She agrees. Several years go by, and they have a much-beloved son.
However, Packy returns and admits to Arden that he could not stop thinking about her. She is swept away and agrees to sail away with him. Tommy confronts his rival with a gun; he orders Packy to pretend to reject Arden, promising to arrange a hunting "accident" for himself, so that Arden can be with Packy without a scandal that would hurt his son. Meanwhile, Arden comes to realize that their child means more to her than anyone else. She tells Packy she cannot go with him. Tommy, unaware of this latest development, arranges his shooting accident, but Arden figures it out in time.
- Greta Garbo - Arden Stuart Hewlett
- Nils Asther - Packy Cannon
- Johnny Mack Brown - Tommy Hewlett (as John Mack Brown)
- Dorothy Sebastian - Mercedes Stuart
- Lane Chandler - Ding Stuart
- Mahlon Hamilton - Mr. John Glendenning
- Kathlyn Williams - Mrs. Glendenning
- Zeffie Tilbury - Mrs. Handley
- Wally Albright - Arden's young son (uncredited)
Production took place in April and May 1929, in Hollywood, California (USA). Production stills photographs were made by James Manatt and production portraits were taken by Ruth Harriet Louise on May 1929.
This is often referred to as a "silent" film. It is not. It contained a soundtrack with an orchestral score and sound effects.
Garbo's last three "silent" films, WILD ORCHIDS, THE SINGLE STANDARD and THE KISS, were all "sound" films with orchestral scores and sound effects.
"Beautifully photographed in the MGM manner by Oliver Marsh, The Single Standard is a prime example of how to tell an essentially "talkie" story within the confines of the silent film."
Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
The film garnered receipts of $1,048,000 ($659,000 in the US and $389,000 abroad), vs. a budget of $336,000. It was one of the top grossing films of the year.
The film was released on VHS home video in the 1980s(within Garbo's lifetime) with its original Movietone soundtrack and effects and appears on television with the Movietone. In 2009 The Single Standard was issued on DVD release for the first time.
- Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy – by Mark A. Vieira
- The Single Standard at the Internet Movie Database
- The Single Standard at the TCM Movie Database
- The Single Standard at AllMovie
- The Single Standard at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Single Standard review at The New York Times