In the opening scenes of Children of Divorce, two little girls make friends at boarding school. Tiny dark-haired Kitty (Joyce Coad) and tall blonde Jean (Yvonne Pelletier) bond because they’re both children of divorce. In the world of this film, that’s got nothing to do with shared custody or single parents. It means they’ve been abandoned by careless, cocktail-swilling, party-hopping, big-chapeau-wearing, Eurotrash-hobnobbing moms who belong to a parasitic social class that could afford divorce (like the people who made Hollywood movies in the ‘20s).
It’s virtually a Marxist statement despite itself, although an incoherent one. To pick one obvious nit, the other kids in the school have also been dumped by parents of the same class who simply didn’t bother getting divorced first. Later, the “young set” they run with will be depicted as equally useless, idle, and prone to avoiding productivity, even though few of them can utter the badge of declaration spouted by the adult Jean (Esther Ralston): “We’re children of divorce!” Maybe so, but she doesn’t look that miserable.