85 minutes| U.S.A.| 1932| Black and White| 35mm

This film screened 2th & 5th December 2010.

Forbidden was one of four films Capra made in the early 1930s with an actress he loved, Barbara Stanwyck, on the theme of so-called ‘tarnished heroines’. Stanwyck plays a repressed librarian who spends her savings on a holiday voyage where she meets and falls in love with a successful but married politician (Adolph Menjou). She has his illegitimate child and enters into a marriage of convenience with an unscrupulous newspaperman (Ralph Bellamy) who attempts to blackmail her lover.

Capra dismissed it as ‘soggy soap opera’ which he tried to enliven with some directorial flourishes, but it is less sentimental than it might appear: actually the study of a heroine whose romanticism condemns her to a life of self-sacrifice and devotion to a man who concedes that ‘I’ve taken your life away, as though I’d murdered you’. And even the director was impressed by what he called ‘the fine and believable’ performances.

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