Thoroughly Modern Norma


The morals of yesterday are no more. They are as dead as the day they were lived. Economic independence has put woman on exactly the same footing as man.

Norma Shearer

I  recently “discovered” Shearer’s work on Turner Classic Movies, which aired the Hollywood pre-Code classic The Divorcee.

Exceedingly bold for its day, the film told the tale of a woman who gets even with her philandering husband by enjoying a quick tryst with his best friend. I couldn’t help but be moved by Shearer’s ability to convey great strength and equally great vulnerability … often within the span of seconds.

A singular beauty and talent, Shearer in The Divorcee epitomized the modern woman 80 years before the fact.


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