August 7, 2015

Gloria Swanson, The Trespasser

as MARION DONNELL
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I'll say now that I've never thought Gloria Swanson to be an extraordinary actress--but she is however a performer with an innate power to secure your interest and make you interested in her. That's pretty much the beauty of her work in Sadie Thompson, and it's very much the same case here with The Trespasser. With this second go-around, I found myself less impressed by the film's overall narrative; however, Swanson retains her ability to attract you and make you care. Playing pretty much the complete opposite of Sadie Thompson, her Marion is a dressed down, Erin Brockovich-type fighting to ensure that her child lives a good life. It's a clichĂ© sure, but it's the honesty that rings through in her voice and eyes which makes it worthwhile. It's also striking to see that Swanson can do down-to-earth, maternal, and "ordinary" quite well, considering that much of the appeal I had for her work in Sadie (and to others, her work in Sunset Blvd.) revolves around her out-of-body star power playing a role in captivating the viewer. Still, I thought Swanson was just swell; she practically glides through the plot with ease, readied for all the curveballs life throws at Marion, and she handles with a stripped earnestness. Sure, some of the plot points Marion is subjected to seems rather silly (the long-winded monologues? the tearing up around the crippled wife?), but I suppose that Swanson's talent here is such that she makes all the silliness look at least acceptable. Her last act scenes are easily her best, and while this isn't a performance that by any means blows me away, it's a completely capable one that demonstrates Swanson's versatility in playing different types of intriguing women, something that is often missing in the Best Actress shortlists during these earliest years.

Big thanks to Calum Reed for having The Trespasser on his YouTube channel!

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