WriterWillard Mack, John Meehan, Adela Rogers St. Johns Release dateJune 20, 1931 (1931-06-20) ScreenplayAdela Rogers St. Johns, Willard Mack, John Meehan, Becky Gardiner AwardsAcademy Award for Best Actor CastNorma Shearer (Jan Ashe), Leslie Howard (Dwight Winthrop), Lionel Barrymore (Stephen Ashe), James Gleason (Eddie), Clark Gable (Ace Wilfong), George Irving (Johnson - Defense Attorney (uncredited)) Similar moviesI Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, W Delta Z, Mad Max: Fury Road, Irreversible, Gone Baby Gone, Blackhat
TaglineShe wasn't a divorcee but she believed that strangers could kiss!
a free soul clip 1 mp4
A Free Soul is a 1931 American pre-Code film that tells the story of an alcoholic San Francisco defense attorney who must defend his daughter's ex-boyfriend on a charge of murdering the mobster she had started a relationship with; a mobster whom her father had previously got an acquittal for on a murder charge. A Free Soul stars Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore, and Clark Gable.
A Free Soul became famous for a sequence where Barrymore delivers a monologue that is said to be the main reason he won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year. Gable made such an impression in the role of a gangster who pushes Shearer around that he was catapulted from supporting player to leading man, a position he held for the rest of his career.
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Norma Shearer as Jan Ashe
Leslie Howard as Dwight Winthrop
Lionel Barrymore as Stephen Ashe
Clark Gable as Ace Wilfong
James Gleason as Eddie
Lucy Beaumont as Grandma Ashe
A Free Soul was written by John Meehan (dialogue continuity) and Becky Gardiner (adaptation) from the 1928 play by Willard Mack, which was based on the 1927 novel A Free Soul by Adela Rogers St. Johns. However, according to MGM publicity material, the story on which this film was based first appeared serially in Hearst's International with Cosmopolitan magazine starting in September 1926. Although onscreen credits list only the book by St. Johns, contemporary reviews list both the novel and Willard Mack's play.
The Canadian Pharmacists Association protested what they claimed was an unfair portrayal of druggists in the film. Minor deletions were made in the film by local censors following its release, and Ireland banned the film altogether. In 1936, the Production Code Administration recommended that the studio withdraw its application for reissue certification of the picture or face a possible rejection.
A Free Soul was voted "One of the Ten Best Pictures of 1931" by the Film Daily Nationwide Poll.
The film was a big hit - according to MGM records it earned $889,000 in the US and Canada and $533,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $244,000.
Best Actor: Lionel Barrymore
Best Actress: Norma Shearer
Best Directing: Clarence Brown
A Free Soul was released on DVD by Warner Home Video on March 8, 2008 (along with The Divorcee, also starring Norma Shearer), as one of five Pre-Code films in the "TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2" DVD box set.