The only teaming of Greta Garbo and Clark Gable ("Don't miss the one and only Garbo in the arms of Clark Gable" the ads proclaimed), SUSAN LENOX--HER FALL AND RISE was based on a rather racy novel that had caused a sensation some 15 years before. Garbo plays Susan, the illegitimate daughter of a poor, brutish farmer (Hersholt) who decides to arrange a marriage...read more
The only teaming of Greta Garbo and Clark Gable ("Don't miss the one and only Garbo in the arms of Clark Gable" the ads proclaimed), SUSAN LENOX--HER FALL AND RISE was based on a rather racy novel that had caused a sensation some 15 years before. Garbo plays Susan, the illegitimate
daughter of a poor, brutish farmer (Hersholt) who decides to arrange a marriage between her and a wealthier farmer (Hale). Susan detests the man, however, and runs away rather than face married life with him. During her flight she discovers a cabin inhabited by Rodney (Gable), a handsome and
sophisticated engineer. The two are immediately attracted to each other and romance blooms. Unfortunately, Susan learns that her father is out searching for her, and she must flee once again. Rodney is away on a job at the time and never learns of her departure. In desperation, Susan hooks up with
a carnival train and becomes the concubine of the owner (Miljan) to earn her keep. Rodney eventually resurfaces, and when he learns of her unfaithfulness, he is crushed. He dissolves their relationship and goes off to South America. Having lost the man she really loves, Susan leaves the carnival
and decides to make a new life for herself, eventually becoming the mistress of a prominent politician (Hamilton). This soon ends, though, when the politician's enemies discover Susan's background and use it to ruin him. Left with no place to go, Susan travels to South America to search for
Rodney, eventually making a last-ditch attempt to win his love.
Chosen solely because Garbo wanted to work with the handsome young actor, Gable was a bit miscast in SUSAN LENOX--HER FALL AND RISE. The script was weak (rumor had it that as many as 24 different screenwriters took a whack at it) and didn't really provide the proper vehicle for a Garbo-Gable
sizzler. Gable's role was better suited for the less-rugged John Gilbert--the viewer has a hard time believing that the macho Gable would be destroyed and bitter over losing Garbo. Gable agreed to be in the film because it would improve his standing at the box office, and he used the opportunity
to see how one of MGM's biggest stars threw her weight around. (She walked off the set six times.) Problems aside, the film is a fine, fast-paced melodrama with a strong cast that never bores. In reaction perhaps to the sensational novel it was based on, the British censors removed a few minutes
of what they considered objectionable in the film and changed the title to THE RISE OF HELGA.
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