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Original review at TVGuide

TV Guide review

Perfect Understanding (1933)

Gloria Swanson had just married Michael Farmer, an Englishman, and had a daughter. When she lost her contract with Joe Schenck, she moved to England, and, having married a British subject, she learned that she could start her own movie company there. She starred in as well as produced this picture (and gave her hubby a part in the proceedings) but it was a total loss, both critically and financially and she even had to sell much of her stock in United Artists in order to complete the picture. Swanson is an American woman on holiday in England when she meets Olivier (sporting a mustache to look older than his 25 years, as Swanson was 32 and looked every bit of it), an English aristocrat. They fall in love and decide to get married but insist on maintaining their own freedom and their own friends. They take a long honeymoon on the Riviera (many of these scenes are of such forced gaiety that they seemed ludicrous to Depression audiences and even more so today), and Swanson comes back to London to get their abode ready. Meanwhile, Olivier is mildly hurt in a speedboat race and taken to Cannes, where he is put up at the villa owned by Swinburne, a married woman who soon falls in love with him. They have a go at it one night, and when Olivier goes home to London, he confesses his sexual transgression to Swanson. She gets even by going to see an admirer, Halliday, and though it looks like she's also strayed, the truth is that she chickens out before anything more serious than a mild flirtation occurs. Olivier is less than understanding of her behavior, and when she tells him that she is expecting, he considers marching out on her but finally recovers from his fit of jealousy and they are united in a clinch. Wearing two hats was not easy for Swanson and her acting shows it. Add that to being a new mother and the constant bickering with her husband and it's easy to see why the picture suffered, despite being neatly shot in London and in the south of France. Fans of Olivier will be disappointed in his role. He was just getting started in movies and had scenes stolen left and right by the mercurial Swanson, who knew her way around cameras.

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