The Last Of Mrs. Cheyney

  • 1929
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

This was the first and, arguably, the best of three versions of Lonsdale's play, which had starred Ina Claire and Roland Young on Broadway. It was done with Joan Crawford, William Powell, and Robert Montgomery in 1937, then again as THE LAW AND THE LADY with Greer Garson, Fernando Lamas, and Michael Wilding. Rathbone made his sound debut in the film, and...read more

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This was the first and, arguably, the best of three versions of Lonsdale's play, which had starred Ina Claire and Roland Young on Broadway. It was done with Joan Crawford, William Powell, and Robert Montgomery in 1937, then again as THE LAW AND THE LADY with Greer Garson, Fernando Lamas,

and Michael Wilding. Rathbone made his sound debut in the film, and audiences were thrilled by that mellifluous voice, despite hit-and-miss recording on the part of the studio's sound department, which was just learning the newfangled technique. Shearer poses as a rich widow while visiting Monte

Carlo but she is little more than an adventuress with larceny on her mind. She and Barraud conspire to steal an expensive necklace of pearls from Gordon, but she thinks better of it after meeting Rathbone, Gordon's nephew and a lord in his own right. Shearer travels with a retinue of crooks who

pose as her servants and she is immediately accepted by the society types. Later, she is invited to Gordon's country mansion in England, where she intends to purloin the pearls. She's caught by Rathbone but wins him over with her charm. Now Rathbone says he'll keep mum about her doings if she

agrees to have an affair with him. Shearer may be a crook but she's not a hussy, so she calls for everyone at the home to be her judge and jury and confesses what she's done and what Rathbone has suggested. The guests find her guilty and are about to call in the police when Bunston steps forward

and admits that he once wrote Shearer a letter that would prove embarrassing to all if the contents are revealed. The gathered aristocrats buy her off with a large sum of money in a check. Shearer proves her mettle by destroying the check and the letter, and the others are so thrilled by her

selflessness that they welcome her into their social set. Rathbone is totally taken by this, and the picture ends as the two of them plan a life together. Certainly it's unbelievable and, yes, it's filled with constructional faults, but the whole thing is so airy and delicate as played by a

marvelous cast that we can forgive all of the above. The dialog is sometimes too clever, almost Oscar Wilde-like, though the bon mots come so thick and fast and you laugh so hard that you have no time to realize it's all a lot of silliness. Shearer and producer Thalberg were married at the time

this was made. Until their marriage in 1927, she had not been a star, but once she wed the studio chief, she had her choice of plums and got a beauty with this role.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This was the first and, arguably, the best of three versions of Lonsdale's play, which had starred Ina Claire and Roland Young on Broadway. It was done with Joan Crawford, William Powell, and Robert Montgomery in 1937, then again as THE LAW AND THE LADY wi… (more)

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