Classic Film Guide

Easy Virtue (1928)

Two sources other than list this film as a 1927 film which was released before The Ring (1927), hence the sequence on this website.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this average silent drama was based on a Noel Coward's (In Which We Serve (1942)) play. It's a typical story about a woman, Larita Filton (Isabel Jeans), whose reputation is besmirched per an (implied?) extra-marital liaison. Whether Larita ever had an affair with portrait artist Claude Robson (Eric Bransby Williams) is besides the point; it leads to his suicide and her divorce from Mr. Filton (Franklin Dyall). What follows next is predictable - Larita meets another young man, John Whittaker (Robin Irvine), on holiday, the two fall in love and marry impetuously, shocking his proper family who eventually learns of her secret past. John's proposal and Larita’s answer occurs over the telephone, heard by the receptionist (Benita Hume, uncredited) whose expressions tell the audience all they need to know.

Ian Hunter (the third and last time he would work with the director) plays Mr. Filton’s divorce attorney who, despite the fact that he's a longtime family friend of the Whittakers, is not the source of the disclosure. Violet Farebrother plays John's disappointed mother; Frank Elliott his father. Dacia Deane & Dorothy Boyd plays John's elder & younger sisters, respectively. Enid Stamp-Taylor plays Sarah, the young lady that the Whittakers always thought John would marry; ironically, she serves as Larita’s primary support within the Whittaker household.

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