Three Women



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 158

Plot summary

October 09, 2022 at 04:26 AM


Ernst Lubitsch

Top cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
646.05 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 10 min
P/S ...
1.17 GB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 10 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Paularoc 7 / 10

A very interesting although lessor Lubitsch movie

Lewis Cody as Edmund Lamont is a debonair man about town who is in dire financial straights. At a gala he meets the very wealthy and self centered Mrs. Mabel Wilton, played by Pauline Frederick. Lamont sees her as his way out of his financial difficulties and she quickly is taken in by his charm and attention. Mrs. Wilton has a daughter, Jeanne (May McAvoy) who she has not seen for some time. When Jeanne, just after her eighteenth birthday, unexpectedly shows up, Mrs. Wilton is angry and simply ignores her daughter. Lamont however, upon learning that that Jeanne has a substantial trust fund, turns his attention from the mother to the daughter. He seduces her and Jeanne then marries him. It doesn't take Lamont long to start cheating on his wife with the flapper Harriet (Marie Prevost). Jeanne's college boyfriend shows up and she realizes that it is he she truly loves (since he is so much the better man, this is easy to believe). After Lamont's infidelity is discovered, Mrs. Wilton realizes how much she cares for her daughter's well being and confronts him and demands that he give Jeanne a divorce - which he refuses to do. Unbelievably, Lamont hits on her. In self defense and anger, she shoots him and to the viewer's glee, the jury acquits her. The cast does a wonderful job, especially Cody as the complete cad and Frederick as the middle aged woman worried about her fading beauty. Lubitsch's direction is spot on and there are no draggy parts in the movie which makes for a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience.

Reviewed by boblipton 7 / 10

Lubitsch Without Comedy

Lew Cody is flat broke, so he takes up with wealthy Pauline Frederick. When her daughter May McAvoy comes home, he shifts his sights. Never mind that Pierre Gendron intends to propose to her as soon as he gets his medical license; Cody is tired of getting a hundred grand here and there from Miss Frederick for 'investments' that go bust. As Miss McAvoy's husband, he would have her trust fund, half of Miss Frederick's wealth.

Ernst Lubitsch's society drama is a far more serious affair than the effervescent comedies he is best remembered for, but his handling is just as light and sure, with the little touches that inform the audience of what is going on without many titles. Cody seems seedy from his first appearance, Miss Frederick fluttery and fearful of passing youth, and if the party scenes are not as abandoned as they are in a DeMille movie, that seems an indictment of the participants' lack of imagination, rather than the film makers' or the audience's.

Reviewed by wmorrow59 7 / 10

Melodrama, with the Lubitsch Touch

Over the years I've enjoyed a number of the silent features Ernst Lubitsch directed in Hollywood. His 1920s output includes some dazzling gems, such as Lady Windermere's Fan, The Marriage Circle, and So This is Paris. But until recently I'd never seen Three Women, a film that seldom receives public screenings, and isn't available in any format suitable for home viewing. This past weekend a rare print was shown at NYC's Film Forum, with live piano accompaniment provided by Steve Sterner, and it proved to be an engrossing, entertaining drama. Three Women bears the hallmarks of its director's famous style, yet at the same time its story ventures into a darker and more melodramatic realm.

This is the story of Mabel Wilton (played by stage veteran Pauline Frederick), a wealthy widow of a certain age who is worried about the relentless passage of time. When we first meet her she's nervously weighing herself on a bathroom scale, and is distressed at the results. Actually she's a perfectly attractive middle-aged lady, but the fact that her daughter is now a college undergrad—and has just reached her 18th birthday—is a disturbing reminder of her own advancing age. Daughter Jeanne (May McAvoy) yearns for a closer relationship with her mother, and can't understand why Mabel pushes her away. Into this uneasy mother-daughter relationship steps the disreputable Mr. Lamont (Lew Cody), a slick but shady businessman, a "womanizer" and spendthrift who struggles to keep his many creditors at bay. When he's introduced to Mrs. Wilton at a society ball Lamont coolly sizes her up, and this is conveyed to us in a very Lubitsch-like fashion: with a series of closeups noting the lady's jewels and expensive trinkets. That's all this guy can see.

Lamont approaches Mrs. Wilton to discuss a business deal, but before long his sales pitch turns into a courtship. In the midst of their affair Lamont meets Jeanne, and swiftly pivots to her instead. She's flattered, and feels lonely due to her mother's neglect; this, despite the attentions of a nice young medical student from college who is devoted to her. Unwisely, Jeanne agrees to marry Lamont. Her mother is initially shocked and hurt, naturally enough, but comes to accept the relationship. All too soon, however, Lamont is seeing another woman, Harriet (Marie Prevost), the third woman of the title. Tensions escalate into heated conflict and sudden death.

As even a brief synopsis suggests, we're not in typical Lubitsch territory here, story-wise. The first half of Three Women plays very much like a characteristic Lubitsch comedy-drama, complete with those stylish "touches" we associate with his work, such as the witty sight gags which convey the characters' true feelings, sometimes at odds with their outward show of behavior. A good example of an emblematic directorial technique comes when the young medical student Fred Colman (Pierre Gendron) is indecisive about giving Jeanne the gift of a bracelet. He hesitates, delays, decides to give her the bracelet, then changes his mind—and this is all conveyed with close shots of his hand reaching for his jacket pocket, where we know the bracelet rests. Very cinematic, and very much in the Lubitsch tradition. But the film's final scenes, especially the trial, with its tense build-up to the jury's verdict, feel quite different from this director's usual fare. A moralistic theme is introduced and emphasized, suggesting that Mabel Wilton deserves punishment for being a frivolous, negligent mother. This motif may come as a surprise to anyone expecting more continental-style sophistication along the lines of, say, The Marriage Circle.

In sum, I found Three Women well-made and interesting, if not on par with the best silent era work by this director. I especially admired the strong and sympathetic performance by Pauline Frederick, while Lew Cody is, as usual, a first-rate scoundrel; he really cornered the market in those roles in the '20s. He's such a cad, you have to wonder why an urbane lady of the world such as Mabel Wilton doesn't spot him for what he is more quickly. Maybe she should have gone to the movies more often!

Read more IMDb reviews

1 Comment

rekyht profile
rekyht October 09, 2022 at 04:21 am

Thanks so much!!!