Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 09/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thanks to Kino Video we are able to enjoy more of director Maurice Tourneur's beautiful work, such as "The Blue Bird" and "Lorna Doone" - two very different films but both have that special artistic Tourneur touch which makes his films visually very appealing and delightful to watch. The smooth editing and attention to some fine details when it matters set Tourneur apart from other directors of the silent era, and "Lorna Doone" is a good example of his fine techniques. It is an historic drama set in England several centuries ago, and is essentially a love story about two people who meet as children and find each other again later as Lorna goes from being kidnapped into a family of outlaws to reclaiming her rightful noble inheritance - only to give up her title to be with her beloved `lowly farmer's son'. There are unexpected twists and turns in the story to keep up suspense, and Tourneur's attention to lighting, photography and smooth and careful editing further enhance the film. Watching "Lorna Doone" was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me, and some scenes lingered on in my mind afterwards; not for anything outstanding or particular, but in some subtle way very impressive, and this seems to be the style Tourneur was renowned for in his day, as brought out in a 1922 review of "Lorna Doone", which is a special feature on this DVD. There is also a bio and filmography of Maurice Tourneur, and a stills gallery. The picture quality is very good throughout, and overall this is another great Kino Video DVD which silent film enthusiasts are sure to enjoy."
Excellent Period Piece
SereneNight | California, USA | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Filmed in the twenties, Lorna Doone is a silent film about the romantic relationship between Lorna (countess of Lorne), and her simple peasant lover John Ridd. Madge Bellamy plays an excellent Lorna... But the real star of this show is the actor who played the Count Doone. I found myself moved to tears when the old villain finds himself protecting Lorna despite being seriously ill.
I felt John Ridd's 'bucolic peasant persona' was a little over-done. He seemed to be a borderline idiot (playing in the river, and YES falling over a waterfall).
Overall, a fun film, sure to elicit a few chuckles, and yes, maybe even a few tears."
"A Long Lost Gem"
Brad Baker | Atherton, Ca United States | 09/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In Olde England, highwaymen in the wilds of Devon kidnap a nobleman's young daughter, abandoning her mother. Years pass. Little Lorna Doone grows into womanhood, meeting a dashing young man down by the river. But will the Devon gang approve? Atmospheric director Maurice Tourneur correctly credited the birth of the motion picture to Eadward Muybridge's multiple-sequence photographs taken on Leland Stanford's horse farm in California in 1878. Kino has just released the DVD of Tourneur's 1922 "Lorna Doone". The full-frame, color-tinted transfer includes a bio, a stills gallery, and an original New York Times review. Maurice Tourneur was born near Paris in 1873. He moved to World Pictures in New Jersey in 1915. He became renowned for "his mastery of set design and thoughtful lighting." He shot through arches and canyons to trumpet "Lorna Doone" in 1922. Tourneur moved to Hollywood. But at MGM, his last American film was 1929's "The Mysterious Island", a clumsy jumble of tacky miniatures and filmed conversation. Someone else finished the movie. Tourneur lost a leg in a car accident in 1949. Maurice Tourneur died in Paris in 1961. The lead role in "Lorna Doone" is played by Madge Bellamy. Later, in 1932, Bellamy took a leading role in "White Zombie" to bolster a fading film career. But just three years later, she had a small role in "Metropolitan" that was uncredited. John Bowers stars as John Ridd in "Lorna Doone". Though a movie star, Bower's career was also ironic. The advent of sound ended his career. After attending a party, the distraught 36-year-old Bowers committed suicide by rowing into the ocean and drowning himself. It is believed that his demise was the inspiration for the fictional Norman Maine in "A Star is Born". Legacies are long-lasting. Maurice Tourneur was the father of Jacques Tourneur, who directed "Curse of the Demon" in 1957, and "The Comedy of Terrors(1964)" starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Basil Rathbone."
Sweeping Silent Romance
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 04/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sweeping and romantic is this most lovely silent rendering of the often filmed, Lorna Doone. While the style and prose of Richard Blackmore's only famous novel has not fared well with the passage of time, the heart of the story has, its evocation of Devon and a great love continuing to inspire cinematically. Thomas Ince produced what is perhaps the finest of the silent era versions thanks in large part to the delicate touch of Frenchman Maurice Tourneur. His artful approach to material would be carried on by his son Jacques during the sound era, his elegant horror and suspense films given an artistic touch for which his father was known.
The White Horse Inn on the coast of Devonshire is the setting for a story which has outlived the passage of time. Charles Hatton portrays the very young John Ridd, a farmer's son soon to lay eyes for the first time on the girl who will rule his heart forever. Cecil B. DeMille's discovery, May Giracci, portrays the young aristocratic Lorna, stepping from her coach and capturing a young boy's fancy. Knowing the feared Doones are about, he gives her his pocket knife for protection. But he proves unable to safeguard her, watching helplessly from the cliffs as she and her mother are robbed by the exiled Sir Ensor Doone (Frank Keenan) and his brutal clan of thieves. Discarding her mother to sink into the tide with their coach, Lorna's future drifts out to sea with them and she is taken by the highwaymen.
Madge Bellamy is perhaps best remembered today for her early sound work, lending a certain grace to many "B" films of the 1930's. She makes a truly lovely romantic heroine as the adult Lorna here, however. John Bowers is also excellent as the grown-up John, his heart devoted to the girl of his youth and vowing to one day take revenge on the Doones. His cousin Ruth (Norris Johnson) lives in Lorna's shadow, knowing her own feelings of love for John can never be returned. Lorna grows up gentle and lonely, unable to fit in with the savage clan. Only Ensor's affection for her keeps her from the grasp of the brutish Carver. One day by a waterfall, the couple will be briefly reunited when he is swept by the current downriver. Their joy is a short-lived one; he escapes with his life from Doone country with her help.
Tourneur captures the romantic sweep of Blackmore's story while retaining its simplicity. It is this simlicity retained by Tourneur which makes the romance poignant and fresh for viewers even today. With Ensor on the verge of death and no longer able to keep Carver at bay, a signal the two lovers have arranged reaches John, and he races to save her from a life too harsh to endure. Ensor has come to love Lorna as a daughter, and seeking forgiveness sends a message to London regarding her birthright. This gesture of love will tear the couple apart once more, as John realizes when a countess (Gertrude Astor) arrives at his humble farm to take Lorna to London as her charge, he must not stand in her way. A visit to see her will make John a momentary hero, until he is reminded he does not belong in Lorna's new world. Knowing she belongs in his, she will return to her love, setting in motion a torrent of jealousy and tragedy, and one of the most romantic endings of any film ever made.
Tourneur uses the photography of Henry Sharp and gorgeous costumes and settings by Milton Menasco to create a sumptuous and romantic film pleasing on all levels. This Kino edition has a beautiful score from Japanese pop star Mari Iijima that adds to the romantic sweep of this film from 1922. Fans of romantic themed literary adaptations can find everything they are looking for in this lovely work from a forgotten art form."
Outstanding in every way
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 06/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can easily see why they took the time and trouble to put Lorna Doone onto DVD---it's an outstanding movie. We get plenty of plot twists, action, suspense, love scenes and so much more. The convincing acting is wonderful, too. The plot moves along at a very good pace; and that's a big plus because with all those plot twists they need to tell the story at a decent pace. The cinematography is excellent and the choreography works best in crowd scenes as well as the scene where a British prince is to be christened. The quality of the print is by and large pretty good although it could still use some restoration.
When the film begins, we meet young Lorna (Mae Giraci), a daughter of nobility who falls for local villager John Ridd (John Bowers) when her mother's stagecoach briefly stops in British Devonshire in the 1600s. John also develops a crush on Lorna and we see them promise to stay in touch and maybe reunite some day; John gives Lorna his small knife to use against the Doones (local robbers) should they come their way. Of course, the Doones catch up with the stagecoach carrying Lorna and her mother; her mother is killed and Lorna quickly becomes the "ward" of the leader of the thieves, Sir Ensor Doone (Frank Keenen). Eventually a young troublemaker, Carver Doone (Donald MacDonald), wants Lorna to be his bride--as a slave, of course. As long as Sir Ensor lives, however, the one and only soft spot he has in his heart exists for Lorna; and Sir Ensor declares that Lorna will marry the man of her choosing.
After Sir Ensor passes away, Carver is delighted to find that Lorna is now available. However, she has a friend send a signal to John Ridd and with his help (and some mighty awesome action scenes) Lorna gets back to Devonshire--only to be told she's nobility by a countess and thrown back into yet another world where she doesn't truly belong. Lorna wants her freedom even when John bravely tells her to go to London and join the nobility; and things don't exactly work out well when John comes to London to take Lorna away. Lorna does come back to Devonshire, though--but only after she renounces her position as a "lady."
It may well seem as if I've give too much away but believe me I haven't! There are several more plot twists and turns that keep you guessing--literally until the very last minute of the picture. Carver keeps chasing after Lorna; and John's cousin Ruth also tries to block the union of John and Lorna. Will Lorna and John survive Carver and this double-crossing? Will anything ever be able to stop the evil Doones? What happens between John and Carver after John's wedding day to Lorna is ruined? It's so rare that I see a picture with so much well done action and suspense; I am amazed at the high quality of this movie.
The DVD comes with a few extras: we get a stills gallery, a brief biography and filmography of director Maurice Tourneur and a copy of the review of this movie taken from The New York Times. Great!
Lorna Doone remains a classic to this day; it makes an excellent addition to anyone's DVD collection. This is a very special treat in particular for fans of silent film. "