29 December 2005 | Maleejandra
Janice Meredith is a film about a girl (Marion Davies) during the American Revolution who falls in love with a spy (Harrison Ford). Miss Meredith is somewhat like a silent movie version of Forrest Gump in that she constantly finds herself involved with historically important events like Paul Revere's ride, Washington crossing the Deleware, and others. There are also several historical figures depicted in the film like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette, and General Cornwallis.
This film was a commercial failure when it was released and there are several indications as to why. First off, Marion Davies seems dying to show her true colors. We see them in a few scenes where she gets to flirt with men, bringing forth her vivacity and endearing qualities. However, in the scenes when she is more serious, her personality dims and her beauty becomes that of the silent starlet, standard and therefore uninteresting. Next, the film seems to take itself too seriously sometimes. It is obvious that massive amounts of money were spend on the making of the film, but that in itself does not make it an art film. There is a scene where fallen soldiers rise and as spirits encourage troops by playing drums and a flute. However, instead of being effective, it just seems strange and out of place. There is also some slapstick at unexpected times such as when two soldiers back into each other slowly and run away when their back touch, this during a dramatic battle scene! The Videobrary release of this film is adequate, though the music score is inappropriately crescendos and alters the mood of scenes. However, thankfully or disappointingly depending on how one looks at it, the score abruptly stops and does not return for over half the film. For first time silent film viewers, this will probably be a massive drawback, but for veterans it will probably be more of an asset.