Sunday, April 4, 2021

#2,548. The Single Standard (1929)


Greta Garbo is one of my favorite actresses, yet I had never seen this movie before.

Socialite Arden Stuart (Garbo) refuses to settle down, choosing instead to have a series of love affairs, first with her chauffeur Anthony (Fred Solm), then with jet-setter and sometimes artist Packy Cannon (Nils Asther).

During their time together - sailing the South Seas on his yacht - Arden falls deeply in love with Packy, who ultimately rejects her so that he can concentrate on his work.

Heartbroken, Arden returns home, where longtime admirer Tommy (Johnny Mack Brown) once again proposes marriage. Arden accepts, knowing full well that she’s still in love with Packy, and always will be.

Garbo’s next-to-last silent feature (The Kiss, released the same year, was her last), this 1929 movie tackles the old double-standard of how society views promiscuity: a man who sleeps around is shrugged off, while a woman with more than one beau is considered loose and immoral. Over the course of the film, Arden becomes the subject of much gossip and innuendo, while Packy remains a favorite among the elite, despite the fact his behavior has been every bit as “scandalous” as Arden’s.

It’s a brave topic for this time period, and though occasionally a bit too melodramatic, The Single Standard is nonetheless an engaging motion picture.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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