18 February 2007 | mart-45
100 exciting minutes
Nice goings-on in an old mansion. But several flaws as well. The plot is a bit over-written, and there are numerous warnings on title cards to be very attentive, to be very afraid and so on. One step away from a brainwash really. From the first moments it's difficult to understand who's who - especially if you have a washed out bootleg copy, such as mine. You just don't distinguish the many faces. Plus there are several black-face performances, which is really stupid, as the men who are supposed to be black servants, have especially distinctive paleface features. Needless to say, they also provide the comic relief, and needless to say, it's all about rolling the eyes, waxing stiff, falling down, and running around in terror, yelling "lawdy, lawdy!" or something similar. In other words, not funny. I did like the leading lady and I can't blame Griffith for falling madly in love with her. Fortunately she's not only pretty, but also quite convincing as a 16-year old precious little rich girl, hungry for her mother's love. I immediately went browsing the net and found two more films where she is in, so I'll know a bit more when these arrive. Strangely enough her career totally ended a few years after this film, and I would like to know the reason, why. The leading man was a new face to me as well, even though looking at the list of his films, I realized I have seen several, but from the later period. He looks like he could be 16 himself, whereas in reality he was 32. Very handsome and moving as a young man tortured by love, he left a very good impression on me. There are nice interiors and some very good 1922 fashions displayed. I only wish there were a good, sharp, legitimate copy released. Despite some obvious flaws in the story, the complexity of the plot and the irritating comic subplot, a thoroughly enjoyable dark old house flick.