The Bride's Play
- 1h 10m
A Romance Centered on an Non-existent Irish Custom
Despite what is given here, the title is truly "The Bride's Play" and it refers to an odd custom, probably fictional, where an Irish bride circulates among the men in the wedding party and asks them if any one of them is her "true love." Although it is her twelfth starring role, it is still an early film for Marion Davies, who plays Aileen Barrett, a beauteous and captivating Irish Colleen and daughter to a local squire of means. She is protected and doted upon by the local men, including Sir Fergus Cassidy (Wyndham Standing) though he elects to keep his deeper interest in her a private matter. In convent school Aileen runs into trouble through sharing with other students the purple poetry of popular, but second-rate, versifier Bulmer Meade (Carl Miller). One day, after her father has died, Meade comes to town and immediately devotes his energies to winning Aileen's heart. After much persistence, Meade finally succeeds, but then he's done with her and disappears. Sir Fergus finally makes his interest known, and the heartbroken girl is happy to learn the truth; they agree to marry. But before the wedding begins, an old wife (Julia Hurley) relates her old wives' tale about Sir Fergus' ancestor, who had lost his bride to her old lover during "the bride's play" some eight centuries before, leading some to doubt as to the outcome of the new union to be. For such a simple story, Cosmopolitan really pulled out the stops on this one; the sets and costume are eye-popping, and so is some of the cinematography. Moreover, "The Bride's Play" survives in a gorgeous 35 mm print; thankfully so, as so few of Davies' early pictures now exist. However, the direction is make work and there are some notably dull stretches in the picture. Perhaps Cosmopolitan felt that they weren't getting their money's worth with director George Terwilliger, whose last major studio production this was before he slipped into states' rights features and poverty row fare. Davies' best years -- and best films -- were still ahead of her, but for Terwilliger "The Bride's Play" was the end of the road. It's impressive in spots, and Davies is genuinely lovely as is the Irish setting in addition to the charming, if slight, tale told. Owing to it's occasionally leaden pacing, some measure of patience brought to "The Bride's Play" will pay off though there are definitely better vehicles for Marion Davies than this one.
- Jun 19, 2016
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