Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Frances X. Bushman Jr.
Director: Bennett Cohen
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Gotham (dba Alpha) Release Date: 06/07/2005
Similarly Requested DVDs
An average haunted house whodunit mystery
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 06/27/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There are pros and cons to this DVD, and I'd actually give it 3 ½ stars, to be exact. For a start, the picture quality is a little poor and blurry at times, but considering this is a budget label, it's not all that bad, either. The film jumps and goes in and out of focus for the opening credits, but then settles down and is overall in good condition - just that little bit weak, but probably not too bad to the experienced silent film viewer. The music, while quite good in itself using synthesizers and the sounds of a harpsichord to match the eerie haunted house setting, somehow doesn't always enhance or match the scenes, and I can imagine it might not be to everyone's liking. On the upside, the story itself is not too bad, and it reminded me of both "The Cat and the Canary" (1927) and "The Bat" (1926). The setting is an eerie house on a Florida swap which a young man inherits from an uncle he didn't even know he had. Right from the start various strange characters appear to make a rather complex mystery; from a damsel in distress who is connected to the Chinaman who keeps peering through the window, to a phantom-like being in hat and cape who seems to disappear through walls; all taking place at midnight, of course. As a result there are certainly no dull moments, and in fact, I thought some scenes which were done with long, intense shadows are very good. The build-up to the climax and the final unraveling of the whole mystery isn't too bad either, and I'm pretty sure that haunted house whodunit buffs won't be disappointed. But there are no special highlights or brilliant performances so that, to me at least, this film doesn't stand out or warrant a 4-star rating, and might not appeal too much to the general silent film viewer.
Silly Subject Matter For A Silly Film.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 08/29/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This melodrama finds itself changing in tone throughout, from mystery to comedy to romance to horror, and fails on all counts to produce a reasonable degree of entertainment. Set in, on and about a deserted house in Florida's Bayou region, the plot involves inheritance of the house by Lynn Claymore (Francis X Bushman, Jr.) from an uncle of whom he was unaware and his arrival at the property to take possession, while having to deal with a hotchpotch of odd characters, each of whom presents an unknown agenda. These include a damsel in apparent distress, played by Kathryn McGuire, a favorite leading lady of Buster Keaton, a lawyer, a Chinaman, a negro valet, a united and sinister butler and housekeeper, a paralytic gentleman, and others. In addition, the influence of a cloaked individual must be mentioned, as he is continually skulking about, disappearing into secret passages, and generally making the rest of the cast quite uneasy. The valet is played by Martin Turner who must have influenced Eddie (Rochester) Anderson's style, as the latter's mannerisms are virtually interchangeable with those of the whimsical Turner, upon whose scenes one becomes increasingly willing to invest attention, as they are a welcome shift from the preposterous and cliche-beholden script. The editing is indifferent at best, with some scenes being switched in continuity, and the direction by Bennett Cohen is by the numbers. Those minutes when Bushman, and Jack Perrin as the probate lawyer, are alone and in conversation are effective due to their relaxed rapport and, if there were more of such, the grotesquerie would have been more palatable. The film includes a most quaint fight sequence with the large and athletic Bushman having an extraordinarily difficult time in subduing a somewhat unprepossessing rival, with the action, because of odd editing, continuing for about 20 minutes, while the other players remain determined to go about their business. The engagingly original and motific score is played in witty fashion at the Wurlitzer by the talented Rosa Rio, who began her career in the 1920s in large theatres about New York and who achieved widespread and national acclaim for her musicality as accompanist to silent cinema. Her contribution and the efforts by Turner are not enough aid in suppressing feelings of ennui for most viewers of this cartoonish mishmash.