Robert Z. “Pop” Leonard was a highly successful contract director at MGM, to such extent that critical appreciation of his work is practically nonexistent or of a negative kind. Nevertheless, the transparency of Leonard’s work conceals a skilled and talented artisan of the highest order, and several of his films rate as classics and remain popular favorites decades after they were made. Born in Chicago, Leonard began as a stage actor, making his film debut in 1908 at the Selig Polyscope studios in Chicago; his directing career began in 1913 at Rex, a former independent then operating as a unit within Universal. Leonard’s early films were comedies, often starring Leonard himself as a “boob” or an ethnic Swedish caricature. From the time vaudeville star Mae Murray arrived in Hollywood in 1916, Leonard gradually became her principal director, he abandoned his own career as a movie actor by 1918, but did make unbilled cameo appearances in later films.
Murray’s headstrong behavior and… read more
The ending was a bit of a cop out, but it still remains a very, very good pre-code film and one I would highly recommend. Even with a bit of a cop-out, I don't think it detracts from the film overall I don't have a lot of experience with the films of Norma Shearer, but I thought she was great in this one - a much deserved Oscar win for her.