Conceived by Sam Goldwyn as a vehicle to launch his protégée Anna Sten, this is a very loose and inevitably bowdlerised version of Zola's classic novel about a gamine from the gutters who becomes the most celebrated whore in Paris. With the sex and syphilis gone, it becomes a somewhat stolid if sumptuously designed romantic melodrama about a music-hall actress torn apart by her liaisons with brothers Holmes and Atwill. But Arzner treats her heroine sympathetically, while Gregg Toland's lustrous photography makes a fair stab at exoticising her into a Garbo/Dietrich figure. And her lacklustre reputation notwithstanding, Sten - albeit rather too wholesome for the part - is surprisingly affecting.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Willard Mack, Harry Wagstaff Gribble|