Susan And God

  • 1940
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Anita Loos' adaptation of the successful drama by Rachel Crothers was actually better than the play's script. It had been specifically tailored for Gertrude Lawrence on the stage and after the property was acquired by MGM, it was offered to Norma Shearer, who declined because she didn't want to be seen as the mother of a teenage child. Crawford eagerly...read more

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Anita Loos' adaptation of the successful drama by Rachel Crothers was actually better than the play's script. It had been specifically tailored for Gertrude Lawrence on the stage and after the property was acquired by MGM, it was offered to Norma Shearer, who declined because she didn't

want to be seen as the mother of a teenage child. Crawford eagerly jumped in and made the transformation from siren to actress with this role. Crawford and Shearer never liked each other and often competed for roles, which were usually handed to Shearer because she was sleeping with the studio

boss, Irving Thalberg. (Lest you think that's gossip, be aware that Shearer and Thalberg were happily married.) Crawford is a flighty society lady who has been living an "in name only" marriage with husband March, an intelligent man who has taken to tippling because his wife is so inner-directed

that she has no time for anyone else but herself. Crawford returns home from abroad and is filled to the brim with the tenets of a new faith that's sweeping the upper crust in Europe. It involves purging oneself, with a public confession, of all sins, real or imagined, that one has ever done. This

religious zealousness causes Crawford's bored society friends to think she's gone nuts. As happens with anyone bubbling with a new fervor, she makes herself disgusting by meddling in the lives of people who would prefer she mind her own business. Her "holier-than-thou" demeanor causes a problem

between friends Bruce and Hayworth. Despite her preaching, Crawford's own domestic life is in disarray. March is hitting the bottle, her daughter, Quigley, is not able to cope with Crawford and her life in general and is becoming more and more introspective. March tries to understand what's

driving Crawford to this new religion and wants it to be an indication that she is finally growing up. But he soon understands that it's just another in a series of fads that Crawford has embraced over the years. March is living apart from Crawford and asks that the family be united again, if only

for Quigley's well-being. Crawford moves back in and it takes a while until she sees what her selfishness and preoccupation have done to her marriage and child. She eventually learns to live the words she's been espousing instead of just mouthing them for other people. March had been off the

screen for more than a year after completing TRADE WINDS. He'd always preferred New York and the stage and the small apartment he shared with wife Florence Eldridge at the Stanhope Hotel on Fifth Avenue. The husband's role in the play (originally done by Paul Kelly) was not nearly as important as

it was in the film, so we can only surmise that it was expanded in order to attract March to the film. Some sharp lines from Loos and a bit of satire of the kind of Christianity put forth by Dr. Frank Buchman in his Oxford Theory of total confession. Hayworth does well as the young wife of Bruce,

having been lent by Columbia for the job when Cukor asked for her. It was her 18th film using the name of Hayworth. For her first 10 movies, she used her real name of Cansino.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Anita Loos' adaptation of the successful drama by Rachel Crothers was actually better than the play's script. It had been specifically tailored for Gertrude Lawrence on the stage and after the property was acquired by MGM, it was offered to Norma Shearer,… (more)

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