9 May 2005 | boblipton
Lithuanians and Letts Do It
A fine film version of one of Elinor Glyn's silly romances. Miss Glyn founded the genre of what is today variously called the Romance Novel, the Gothic Romance or, in the trade, the Bodice-Ripper, since the heroine always winds up with a torn bodice or blouse. It happens here, too.
The excellence of this version can best be understand when you hear that I saw it at the Museum of Modern Art today. The only titles were flash titles in Czech -- no one in the audience knew any of the Slavic languages. There was no script available and yet the story was perfectly intelligible and the movie was interesting, almost all due to fine direction by King Vidor and a very broad and appropriate performance by John Gilbert as a Russian nobleman. Aileen Pringle, as the object of his desire is not so good: she comes off as somewhat butch. But she is a fine actress and the overall effect is excellent. I don't know when you're going to get a chance to see this movie, but if you do, don't pass it up -- or any King Vidor film.