Thursday, January 20, 2011
Monta Bell - Man, Woman and Sin (1927)
"John Gilbert was fond of a narrative poem called The Widow in the Bye Street by John Masefield and wanted to film it, but when he approached his boss, Louis B. Mayer, with the idea, it sparked a huge argument. Gilbert was determined, however, and Man, Woman and Sin is basically a disguised Americanized version of the poem, which he plotted out with director and friend Monta Bell. Gilbert plays Albert Whitcomb, who is devoted to his mother (Gladys Brockwell). He lands a job as a cub reporter at a newspaper and becomes romantically entangled with the society editor, Vera Worth (Jeanne Eagels). Whitcomb does not realize that she is the mistress of the paper's owner, Bancroft (Marc MacDermott). When Bancroft discovers Albert and Vera together in the apartment on which he's been paying the rent, a fight breaks out, and Albert kills Bancroft in self-defense. Vera, to save her reputation, lets Albert hang, and he is convicted of murder. Finally, out of guilt, she admits she was lying, and Albert's mother is able to get her son off with the new evidence. Although some claim this was Jeanne Eagels' film debut, it was not -- she had made a couple of films a decade earlier. She was riding on the crest of fame when this film came out, though -- her portrayal of Sadie Thompson in the stage presentation of Rain had won her renown. In spite of Gilbert's enthusiasm for this project, it was not particularly well-received; perhaps this was partly because Love, in which he was starred with Greta Garbo, had come out a few weeks earlier and that was bound to eclipse the release of Man, Woman and Sin. "
by Janiss Garza