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  • Marion Davies stars as an Irish lass pursued by an older man (Wyndham Standing) and a rakish poet(Carl Miller). She falls for the poet until she discovers he has a bevy of girlfriends and eventually settles for the older man, who happens to be the local lord. People wonder if the lord will re-enact the ancient custom of the "bride's play," whereby the bride addresses the gathered men and asks if he is the one she loves best. Traditionally, the men say no and when she asks the groom, he says yes.

    As with many Davies films, this one has a fantasy sequence which shows Davies as a 12th Century woman named Enid who enacts the "bride's play" but runs off with her true love when she asks if he is the one she loves best. They leave the would-be groom fuming.

    But in the modern-day story, as she is about to enact the "bride's play," the poet makes a startling appearance and takes his place in line. What will happen when she asks him the fateful question? Gorgeous film with ocean backdrops and massive castle sets by Joseph Urban, who also designed Davies' ENCHANTMENT and THE RESTLESS SEX. Davies is, as always, very beautiful as the medieval Enid and the modern-day Aileen. Standing is 20 years her senior but that's what the plot calls for. Thea Talbot plays the jaded Sybil, and George Spink plays the butler. Spink supposedly wrote a symphonic score for the film's premiere but it seems to be lost.

    Davies is always worth watching, and the lush surroundings and beautiful camera work enhance the film greatly.
  • I've just looked at the newly issued DVD from Ed Lorusso. He's done a fine job, as usual. The colored version, which I watched, was beautiful and the color added to the beauty of the rather soft print. Ben Model's score was also very good, adding to the moods of the movie without being intrusive. This kid looks to be a comer.

    The movie, alas, while very good, is not as great as I had hoped. Ira Morgan's cinematography is great; the scenes by the shore are beautiful.

    I have two main problems with the movie. There are too many titles, and they are far too elaborately written. One obvious example is when Marion has gone to Carl Miller's home and discovered his photo gallery of his his conquests. One of his cast-offs shows up and says "Sit down and steel your heart". Why couldn't she have sat, with a distressed face, and drawn Marion down to her? I know that titles are necessary, but why use one when skilled actresses can indicate the matter through pantomime? The other is that in some of the earlier one-shots of Marion, when she is supposed to be expressing emotion, she looks distinctly goofy. I lay both these issues at the feet of the director. His career faded sharply after this. He just wasn't up to the job.

    Where this feature excels is at pageantry. Hearst was reputed to have overpaid on set design, decoration and costumes. He spent the money wisely on this one! Joseph Urban's set decoration is amazing and the wedding sequence is an especial treat. It's this sequence that makes this movie a superior one.... although, alas, not a great one.
  • 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.
  • TheLittleSongbird10 December 2019
    Have for a long time, or at least for some while now, appreciated silent films. With Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton being big reasons as to why. Have liked Marion Davies in other things, and despite her being (unjustly) ignored during her time critically she strikes me as an important figure when it comes to silents. It is great that TCM have given her and her films more exposure over the years, TCM have always been great with giving actors and films more exposure.

    She did do better films and performances than 1922's 'The Bride's Play', but it is watchable and is interesting from a historical perspective. That review summary title sounds very oxymoronic, with "beauty" being one of the most positive words in the English language and "creaky" being quite negative term. What is meant by it, as it does sound misleading, is that it looks lovely but came over as wanting dramatically and having not held up that well.

    Good things are a fair few. Was really surprised in a good way at how great 'The Bride's Play' looked, something of a visual achievement. Particularly great are the sets, which were rich in detail and scale without any swamping and it is beautifully filmed. Especially when by the shore and in the historical scenes. Some nice use of silhouette also. The music score is just as lavish and fits in tone and placement very nicely.

    Other films of Davies showed her strengths as a performer better, nonetheless she is still radiant and commands the screen with aplomb and pathos. The rest of the cast may not be exactly exceptional, but are competent. There are some charming moments.

    For those good things, not everything works. Do have to agree that it is spoilt by the excessiveuse of cramped and overly-wordy title cards. There should have been less of them, only being used when necessary, and in a way where one can see better what was written on the cards. This did contribute to dulling the pace and too much of the film, which never completely grabbed.

    It, 'The Bride's Play' that is, also felt a bit creaky and almost like it was being done as a production on stage and it was captured on film. Meaning to me it felt somewhat stagy dramatically and needed to be opened up more. Tighter and more at ease direction would have helped.

    Not a bad film by all means but to be seen namely for Marion Davies completests and historical interest. 5/10
  • This Marion Davies vehicle, "The Bride's Play," is a simple love triangle, but augmented by nested fairytale stories and a fairytale depiction of Ireland as a quaintly traditional land of leisure (for the wealthy central characters, at least). Yet, given its star's famous relationship with yellow-journalism tycoon William Randolph Hearst, her character's choice here contains a hint of reflection of real life, as she balances her relationship with the arts, as represented in the film by a philandering poet, and with that of a rich old man living in a castle. Hearst produced "The Bride's Play;" her ultimate decision is of little wonder.

    The fairytale and poetic narrative devices are of more interest here, but, unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to think themselves poets, with visuals largely consisting of pageantry and repeated, albeit admittedly lovely, shots of waves in the background breaking on rocky shores, along with an over abundance of title cards--some featuring art and others bad poetry. Indeed, as a vehicle for Davies, this fails, as it doesn't allow her to showcase her talents. Better directors, like King Vidor, knew how to do this while creating narratively and visually exquisite pictures, such as "Show People" (1928).

    Nevertheless, "The Bride's Play" features a scene early on where Davies reads to children a fairytale, which is briefly imagined on screen and, then, reflected humorously in the film's reality via a pig. Then, Davies's character reads a prohibited book of love poems by the very poet she is later to be engaged. She also seemingly chooses her mates based on the reflections in a wishing well, while the richer guy's servants huddle around a cauldron to share the medieval story of how one of their master's ancestors suffered a runaway bride due to the "bride's play" nonsense whereby the bride asks guests, leading up to the groom, who loves her best.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers. Observations. Opinions.

    1921. Just after World War One ended. People wanted to see fantasy stories about people other than shoot em up war pictures and racist melodramas.

    Enter The Bride's Play. This is about an Irish lass portrayed by Marion Davies. She reminds one of other contemporary well known actresses, from the full lips to the long, curly hair, witness Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford.

    There is contrast in this film. Marion visits a group of poor children in a squalid, dump of a neighborhood. She is pretty and well dressed. They are ugly, filthy and bored.

    Later, Marion drives a really cute roadster. Her late father has made it big financially, and she likes to ride around in style.

    William Randolph Hearst is said to have financed this production. He lived big and wide, with no expense spared. He owned a huge publishing empire, and here he was making even more financial investments into the world of the motion picture. Marion was his darling.

    He was a very despicable man, it is said, because he is inferred to have had a major part in getting the U.S. into the Spanish-American War. His yellow journalism newspapers decried the Cuban treatment by the cruel Spaniards, and people paid attention. He was a very old codger compared to the youth of Marion Davies. Hearst was married to someone else during his dalliances with Marion.
  • In contemporary Ireland, Sir Fergus Cassidy is in love with Aileen Barrett, although he is considerably older than she. Aileen enjoys reading the poetry of Bulmer Meade, and when the young author comes to her village, she falls for him. But Aileen soon discovers that Meade is a womanizer. Will she stay with him, or return Cassidy's affections?

    This is a fairly routine romance, with a predictable ending. But unlike "Enchantment," at least this film is more entertaining. Davies is quite good, especially in the scene where she realizes she has been strung along.

    Standing is acceptable as the older lover, but I found Miller to be a bit bland as the poet. The opening credits only list Davies, and she is also referred to in one of the title cards. Oddly, neither Standing nor Miller are acknowledged in any of the title cards.

    The film's title comes from a ceremony performed at the wedding, in which the bride goes around to each of the men and asks "Are you the one I love the most?" in which case only the groom (hopefully) answers "yes." There is a flashback to 800 years ago, showing Davies (as Enid of Cashell) in an arranged marriage to a nobleman, then rejecting him after the ceremony, and taking off with her lover.

    This sets up the climax of the film, although just about anyone should figure out how the movie will end. There is some pleasant scenery, and overall, the film moves at a decent pace. It's not a movie I would necessarily watch again, but it's not a bad way to kill 70 minutes.