Three Who Loved (1931)

John Hanson (Conrad Nagel) is the head teller at a bank by day, and studies for the bar exam by night. He’s engaged to Helga Larson (Betty Compson), a Swedish girl recently arrived in America and excited to start her life with John.

But John’s work and studies keep him very busy. Enter Phil Wilson (Robert Ames), a womanizer who works with John at the bank. Sure that their friendship will keep Phil from pursuing Helga, John allows Phil to take Helga out, so she won’t have to sit around bored while he studies.

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(Image via AllMovie)

Boarding house owner Aunt Annie (Bodil Rosing) warns John he’s making a mistake, and sure enough, romance begins to bloom between Phil and Helga. Can John’s engagement be saved?

Three Who Loved was directed by George Archainbaud. The film was written by Beulah Marie Dix from a story by Martin Flavin.

Three Who Loved starts out on the dull side, but gets much more interesting in its second half, as John comes to realize Helga’s feelings for Phil — and some workplace drama enters the picture for Phil and John. (Workplace drama of the embezzlement kind!)

It’s hard to put too much blame on Helga for her part in love triangle. Her relationship with John is content, but dull. She simply wants some excitement in her life — or as she puts it, “I don’t want to wait! I want to be happy now!” While it’s never okay to step out on your fella, it’s easy to see how she would get caught up in Phil’s whirlwind world of plays and parties, especially after spending her first months in the US watching John study.

Conrad Nagel gives a good performance in his role of John. His inner turmoil in the second half of the film, and the way his conscience plagues him, is one of the most interesting elements of the story.

Three Who Loved is a decent watch, interesting enough but not truly gripping the viewer at any point, even in its strongest moments. It’s somewhat worth a look for Nagel fans, and for a few strong points of drama in the second half.

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