28 November 2006 | drednm
John Gilbert in His Talkie Debut
Interesting film but not very good.
Infamous as John Gilbert's first talkie, though it was released by MGM after HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT had already bombed. Oh that LB Mayer.....
The copy I have was taped off TNT (tv station) and was trimmed by maybe 10 minutes to fit a timeslot. In any case, the story is not very good, one about brooding Russians and fiery Gypsies and love gone bad.
Gilbert is, however, very good as the failing Russian who can't decline booze or gambling. Eleanor Boardman is his faithful wife. Conrad Nagel is friend. Renee Adoree is a fiery Gypsy. Mack Swain plays a Russian judge and Sidney Bracey a philosophic waiter.
It seems badly edited and/or directed but the story is so dark and gloomy it hardly matters. The 4 stars are all pretty good in this early talkie, and Gilbert, in fine voice, has a few very good scenes that almost salvage the film.
Again it's odd that contemporary reviews of this film and HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT never mentioned Gilbert as having a bad voice, thin, effeminate, high, or anything else.... The films were just clunkers.....