14 April 2005 | rsoonsa
There's Not Much To It, But Clara Bow Fans Will Not Mind.
During its last year of existence, Arrow Pictures continued to churn out largely unexceptional films, as with this example, a six reel melodrama thick with sentiment that features Wallace MacDonald as Bruce Armstrong, a pliable young man having weaknesses for alcohol and gambling, and Clara Bow as Marilyn Merrill, a cabaret entertainer whose affection for Bruce proves to be authentic. At a night club named the Sans Souci, where Marilyn is employed and where illegal gambling occurs, Bruce slides deeply into debt to the club's owner, Tom Canfield (Stuart Holmes), who holds Armstrong's bounced checks to coerce Bruce, in order to save himself from being jailed, into becoming an accessory of Canfield in the latter's diamond smuggling operations. Bruce also becomes embroiled with others of Canfield's criminal group, and after two violent deaths occur in his presence, the situation becomes potentially ruinous for Armstrong, who relies increasingly upon a devoted Marilyn for support while endeavouring to reassure his widowed mother and crippled younger brother of his sufficiency in handling increased difficulties that spiral toward an emotional courtroom trial. The screenplay, from actress Leah Baird who always preferred writing to performing, brings tender emotions to the fore as in all of her work, with one resultant advantage for this effort: a softer than usual role for Bow, although still evidently very much a woman of the world in a film routinely directed by Harry O. Hoyt, and with acting laurels going to the talented MacDonald, whose face accurately mirrors his emotional struggles. Although recently restored, most prints of this scarce production are less than ideal due to lost footage, but remain a valuable addition just the same to libraries of silent film enthusiasts.