A Free Soul

Synopsis: Stephen Ashe, an upper class alcoholic defense attourney, successfully defends local mobster Ace Wilfong in a murder case. After his daughter Jan Ashe breaks her engagement to polo player Dwight Winthrop and starts an affair with Wilfong, she finds that the liason is not easily severed when she wants out. Winthrop earns Miss Ashe's true affections by killing Wilfong to break his grip on her. Now the question is, can Stephen Ashe save Winthrop with an impassioned defense speech to the jury?
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Clarence Brown
Production: MGM
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations.
93 min

Come on, give me something to put on.

- For instance?

Undies, in the bag.


Bag. Foot of bed.

Complete outfit.

Complete outfit. Stockings?

Yes, my love, and other confections.

Well, see what you can make out of this.

Why, that's three complete outfits,

you goof.

For what, a sparrow?

Do you really wear all that harness?

Poor busy man, doesn't know

what the modern girl should wear.

- Be with you in a minute, darling.

- I can hardly wait, my angel.

Well, there's enough left over

to dress a finishing school.

Now, don't interrupt me again.

Why not, tired of me after one night?

No, but my name's in the paper,

I want to read about it.

Morning, Dad.

Good morning, dear.

Good morning, good morning.

Well, did you miss me?

- You bet I did.

- I'll bet you didn't.

I did too, now.

Well, I missed you, old darling.

Oh, but I shouldn't say such nice things

to you, I'm always spoiling you.

Pardon me.

Say, kid, you know,

you're certainly easy to look at.

- Sir?

- Mm-hm.

Darn sight nicer than your mother was.

Here, give me that.

More brains too.

Ah, but she was respectable, we're not.

No, we do as we like.

I've just had four weeks with Grandma Ashe

and the rest of them.

They think you're the worst father

to the most distressful daughter.

How'd you like to be like them?

Wouldn't give your little finger

for all the Ashes that ever lived.

Attagirl. That's the way to talk.

Now, just think, you might

have been a slave to the Ashe tradition.

Darling, I'm a slave to nothing but you.

- That's the way.

Oh, good morning.

- Hello, Eddie.

- Excuse me.

I thought you were still

at your grandma's.

- Have some coffee.

- No, I had a big breakfast.

- Morning, boss.

- Hello, Eddie.

- Glad you're back with us.

- Thanks, Eddie.

How about getting to the fight

a little early boss, huh?

- Fight?

- Yeah.

He's been handing out left hooks

and right crosses till the state's groggy.

But they got a wallop left.

It ain't in the bag, it's still a fight.

We'll have to hit him

with everything but the water bucket.

I'll go and get my coat on.

Why so early, Eddie?

It's an hour before court.

I been taking him out for an hour's walk

in the morning. I didn't know you was back.

Tell me, Eddie, has he been drinking?


A lot?

Well, it wouldn't be a lot for a camel

or one of them things.

But these big fights has got him

all strung up. Can't sleep.

Gotta do something to forget, you know.

He's got a job on his hands.

This case he's on,

you mean?

Yeah, but he's in a spot right now.

Oh, he'll come out all right.

Sure, he will.

With just a little help from Eddie, hm?

- We couldn't get along without each other.

- And where do I come in?

We'd both be losers without you, Jan.

- No fooling?

- I wouldn't ever kid you.

Hello, you coming along with me?

Try and keep me away. Don't pretend

I'm not the secret of your success.

Say, I'm defending a gambler

and a murderer...

...a little home feeling

mightn't be out of the way at all.

Oh. I'm just a prop, exhibit X.

Stephen Ashe and daughter,

domestic little picture.

Just the effect.

Say, you know, Eddie, this jury system's

a grand idea. She won't do a bit of harm.

That jury's so homesick,

they'll bust out crying when you walk in.


Sutter 9-7-6-4.

- Did you find out about that?

- I don't know till we get there.

- Why not?

- Couple of guys to grease, can't tell you.

What's the tricks? What's the tricks?

We've got to keep working, that's all.

You two.

It's the quickness of the hand

that deceives the eye.

Oh, yeah? Hello, Madam Ashe, please.

- Oh, no...

- Talk to your mother, sir.

- I have so little time.

- Come, come, it's your mother's birthday.

Oh. I'd forgotten that. Thank you.

- Hello.

- Stephen, don't forget the dinner tonight.

On your birthday? I should be delighted.

Hello, Grandma, many happy returns.

Say, what time's dinner?

Okay, he'll be there.

Jan, don't let him drink.

Hello, Jan, I said keep him sober.

He worries me.

Oh, yes, darling, yes, it's a lovely day.

Why don't take a nice long ride in the air.

Yes, see you at 7, dear. Love and kisses.

Confounded family dinner.

I wish my mother

belonged to some other family.

I hate the whole tribe of them.

Except you and mother and me.

Well, we're going to win.

This is the last day, Eddie.

I'm not betting on it, boss.

Why not? Confound you.

- That's it, boss, get good and sore.

- Oh, come on, wait here all day.

No, I don't need those things. You all set?

All set.

Gangway. Open up, please, open up.

Got anything to say?

No, no news to tell, nothing at all.

Does your daughter think you'll win?

I don't know.

Of course he'll win.

Doesn't he always win?

Got a trick up your sleeve, Mr. Ashe?

No tricks, I just present the plain facts,

that's all.

Are you engaged to Dwight Winthrop,

Miss Ashe?


Thinking of proposing to me yourself?

Free as the air, thank you.

Sure, it's a sight for sore eyes

to see you here again, Miss Ashe.

It's grand to be back.

How's the baby?

The new one's a bit constipated,

the others are all right.

Outside of the devil that's in them.

- Have you sent for my client?

- Clancy's gone for him, sir.

I wish he wouldn't take

such a long time combing his hair.

Give me that Skinner affidavit, will you?

- Any news, Sam?

- Nothing, prosecution's very cocky.

Jiminy, Dad, now the crowd will see you

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Adela Rogers St. Johns

Adela Nora Rogers St. Johns (May 20, 1894 – August 10, 1988) was an American journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. She wrote a number of screenplays for silent movies but is best remembered for her groundbreaking exploits as "The World's Greatest Girl Reporter" during the 1920s and 1930s and her celebrity interviews for Photoplay magazine. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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