Passion Flower (1930)

Film Review

PASSION FLOWER

Release Date: 6 December, 1930

Studio: MGM

Director: William C. de Mille

Starring: Kay Francis, Kay Johnson, Charles Bickford

Synopsis

Francis, unhappily married to a stuffy older man, seduces Bickford away from wife Johnson and their children. Francis and Bickford live the party life in Europe. After the death of Francis' husband, they return home. Francis asks Johnson to divorce Bickford, and he goes to Johnson to ask for the divorce himself. However, getting together with Johnson and his children causes Bickford to change his mind. He returns to his family. Francis, although heartbroken without him, accepts his decision and leaves without tears.

Discussion

This early example of a Kay Francis film, filled with unhappiness and tragic romance, is not a Francis vehicle. Johnson and Bickford share screen time with her. The films of William C. de Mille, older brother of Cecil B. DeMille, are generally small-scale personal dramas rather than the massive epics favored by his brother. During the silent era, William directed more than 40 silent films, in addition to 30 credits as a screenwriter. During the talkie era, he directed only six films, in addition to four writing credits. He had retired from filmmaking by 1933. In addition to D.W. Griffith and Fred Nible, de Mille is a notable silent director whose career continued only a couple of years into the talkies.