The Secret Bride (1934)

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This film was viewed as a part of TMP’s Barbara Stanwyck filmography project. Check out Listography for links to all previous reviews in the project!

(Image: A Certain Cinema)
(Image: A Certain Cinema)

Ruth Vincent (Barbara Stanwyck) is the daughter of a governor (Arthur Byron). She has secretly married Robert Sheldon (Warren William), a district attorney.

The two are very happy and plan to announce their marriage soon, but before they get the chance, Ruth’s father is accused of taking bribes and Robert must handle the case. In order to protect Robert from being accused of having a conflict of interest, they must put off the announcement longer.

Politics and corruption cause confusion to pile up, and soon Robert and Ruth must make a tough decision between saving an innocent person or saving Ruth’s father.

William Dieterle directs The Secret Bride, based on the play “Concealment” by Leonard Ide. Starring alongside Stanwyck, William and Byron are Glenda Farrell and Grant Mitchell, among others.

(Image: Movie Poster Shop)
(Image: Movie Poster Shop)

There’s no question that this film has a great cast. However, their performances aren’t quite as energetic as usual. As Stanwyck’s husband (and investigative partner in trying to figure out the truth in her dad’s case), Warren William gives us a change of pace from his usual smarmy roles, which is nice to see. Overall, though, the performances fall a bit flat.

And though there is a lot of political intrigue going on here, it isn’t as intense or involving as it could have been, especially with a cast that’s usually so stellar. This is a standard mystery-drama, and though there is quite a bit going on to occupy the viewer’s mind, it doesn’t live up to its potential.

On the positive, The Secret Bride is quite nice visually. It has very fluid movement and interesting angles are used.

Stanwyck’s character is in an interesting predicament that does beg some thought from the viewer. In her situation, would you save an innocent girl or save your own father? It’s a question of blood ties versus the truth.

Unfortunately, I still can’t give this one more than a score of 2.5/5 despite its better moments, because it fell so far short of my expectations.

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3 thoughts on “The Secret Bride (1934)

    1. I’d say it’s still worth a watch if you catch it on TCM some time and have nothing else going on, but it’s definitely one of the less-great Stanwyck films I’ve seen.

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