Plot Synopsis by Brian Whitener
In the early stages of his directing career, Alfred Hitchcock made a number of hackneyed studio films which barely resemble the works he would go on to direct. The society drama Easy Virtue is one of the nine silent movies Hitchcock directed. The film opens with Larita Filton posing for her portrait in an artist’s studio. The behavior of her boorish, philandering husband, Aubrey Filton, drives her into the artist’s arms where her husband discovers her. In the melee that follows, the artist shoots the husband, wounding but not killing him. Aubrey sues for divorce and Larita falls from grace in the courtroom while journalists feed the public a salaciously inflated account. Ruined, Larita flees to the south of France and meets John Whittaker, a young, upstanding British man. They fall in love, marry, and the happy couple returns to England to mummy. Mother Whittaker, a Victorian in the modern age, strenuously opposes the union and upbraids John for bringing scandal upon the family name. Neither John nor his father has the strength to withstand Mother Whittaker’s onslaught, and the film, and Larita, end miserably. Hitchcock does one of his wordless cameos in the film.