The Conquering Power (1921)

TV-G   |    |  Drama, Romance

The Conquering Power (1921) Poster

After losing his father, a playboy moves in with his miserly uncle, who seeks to cheat him out of his inheritance.


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5 December 1999 | rfkeser
As the immediate follow-up to his anti-war saga FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, Rex Ingram presented this rendition of Balzac's EUGENIE GRANDET. The story is nominally updated to the flapper era, but most of it takes place in a provincial town where everyone wears 19th century costumes anyway. As in the earlier film, Rudolph Valentino is a playboy [ with a poodle] who must prove himself, but he appears to somewhat less advantage here. Once again, Alice Terry sensitively plays his designated love object, but in a more traditional ingenue role. Ingram does not always stage scenes effectively, but his films are distinguished by appealingly natural acting: even the obsession of old miser Grandet is never overplayed. In fact, the most striking scene shows the old man hallucinating personifications of his beloved gold, a sequence which may have influenced Ingram's friend and colleague Erich von Stroheim when he filmed GREED. Ingram's celebrated visual talent and John Seitz's cinematography are hard to judge in the dim, unrestored print available. This film lacks the spectacle of FOUR HORSEMEN, but still manages to suggest Balzac's sweep in portraying the complexity of human relations. The "conquering power," according to an introductory title, is Love.

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