NORMA SHEARER | A FREE SOUL (1931) Oversized portrait by George Hurrell


[Los Angeles]: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1931. Vintage original 10 x 13″ (25 x 32 cm.) black-and-white double weight semi-glossy silver gelatin photo. “Please credit HURRELL M. G. M.” and “Norma Shearer, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer” ink stamp and attached typed information blurb on verso. Fine.

Fresh from her Academy Award winning performance for The Divorcee, Norma Shearer was once again nominated for a character who exuded free will, free thinking and non-conformity, thanks to writer Adela Rogers St. Johns. Her career would greatly change in characters portrayed once the stringent Code of 1934 was enforced. Though the censors objected to the elements in the plot of premarital sex, alcoholism, murder, gambling, kidnapping and — most explicitly — a scene in which Shearer lies on a bed wearing a négligée and asks Clark Gable to put his arms around her, MGM ignored them and released the film. It was denied a re-release in 1936.

Shearer wears a most elegant streamline outfit designed by MGM costumer and couturier Adrian.

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