Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Trespasser was Gloria Swanson's first all-talking picture. All talk is right. Swanson plays a humble secretary who marries the son (Robert Ames) of a domineering millionaire (William Holden--no, not that William Holden). The father-in-law bullies Swanson into giving up his son; she agrees to step out of his life, proudly withholding the fact that she's about to become a mother. Later, Swanson enters her ex-husband's social class via an inheritance. Unfortunately, he's remarried to Kay Hammond, who is crippled and thus more needful of the man's love and comfort than self-reliant Swanson. Tearfully, Swanson gives up the man she loves, left only with her child and a bulging bank account. When Trespasser was remade by director Edmund Goulding as That Certain Woman with Bette Davis in 1937, a last-minute happy ending was tacked on--if one can call the death of wife number two a joyous event. As for the original film, Gloria Swanson proved (contrary to the popular belief engendered by Sunset Boulevard) that she could have been just as big a star in talkies as she'd been in silents (she even sings well); unfortunately her subsequent judgment in screenplay selection resulted in a string of flops.
forbidden-love, secretary, disapproval, father-in-law, millionaire, manipulation, pressure, pregnancy, inheritance, self-sacrifice, social-climber