Stolen Heaven (Abbott, 1931)

This review contains spoilers.

Stolen Heaven (George Abbott, 1931)

Compared to Le Million, this was definitely more up my alley. This is the story of a thief and prostitute who plan to blow a bunch of stolen money and kill themselves afterwards. Pretty heavy stuff for 1931. This film could have been really great if not for two things. First, the lead male – Phillips Holmes – is terrible. The entire time it felt like he was reciting lines instead of being his character, and his on-screen presence was extremely stiff. Second, while they are on the trip blowing the money, a wealthy man takes interest in the prostitute and has no qualms trying to steal her away from who he assumes to be her husband. At the end of the film, though, his characterization unrealistically shifts to sympathetic and caring to help tidy up the ending.

stolen

While that sounds like a lot of complaints, the movie actually was enjoyable. Nancy Carroll is fantastic in her role. She carried several scenes and was even able to cover up some of Holmes’ downfalls. The screenplay itself was also fantastic. These people are desperate yet extremely easy to sympathize with. Their relationship is about as realistically written as they come in early cinema. It’s too bad it wasn’t fully realized with a stronger leading male.  Still, seeping through the weaknesses is a very good movie.  8/10

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