A Great Movie
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | 12/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I strongly disagree with the only other (lengthy) review that speaks very disparagingly of this incredibly good movie. This is the best silent I've ever seen and not just because of Valentino, albeit he is just great in it. The stepmother is superb and the two of them make an illicit love duo the like of which one has seldom seen in the movies, even to this date. When they sit clandestinely and grandly in the garden of her husband's estate, scheming away, it is just hilarious. Again, the stepmother is as good as anybody has ever been in this role, and is also a hell of alot better looking than the daughter. I also disagree that the film characters aren't fleshed out. They are totally, and in a very economical fashion. They are not at all stock characters. Even the lawyer boyfriend rises above his secondary role and also isn't too cloyingly good. Finally, the scenery and cinematography of this film are outstanding, featuring the old El Coronado hotel in San Diego, and swimming scenes. And of course, the car scene where the old 1918 roadster goes barrelling into the canyon has to be one of the first such car crash scenes and it's a hell of alot more realistic than most. So if you want to see what all the fuss was about Valentino, and watch a wonderful period silent film, this is the film for you.Therefore, I wish and hope that someone remakes this film. The somewhat unbelievable plot not withstanding."
Cheering for the bad guy
F. Caldwell | 07/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay it's rare that you cheer for the bad guy. But for this movie I'll make an exception. This is one of Rudolph Valentino's early movies (from 1918 I believe) and he plays the scheming Count Roberto. Of course you're supposed to be cheering for Mary (the "heroine") to find love and happiness. And I wanted to. I really did. Unfortunately I thought she was a pretty two dimensional twit. By the end I was actually hoping she might come to her senses and fall for Count Roberto. The plot would have been much more interesting. Sadly that doesn't happen.
Either way Rudolph Valentino's part is well acted and actually quite interesting. The rest of the cast is just okay but still watchable. I can't say this is the best silent movie I've ever watched but it's worth a view if you're interested in silents or Rudolph Valentino. Though his part is pretty restricted you can really see how good an actor he was. Like I said, I was cheering for the bad guy and that doesn't happen very often."
The Count steals the show
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 03/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This seems like a pretty standard American film for 1918, though the story is solid and interesting. The characters could use a bit more fleshing-out and the plot could use a bit more development, but overall it's enjoyable enough, given how most American films were like during the Teens. And pretty unmemorable but for Count Roberto di San Fraccini. I don't suppose it was intended this way, but he steals the show and gives the best performance. It's not a good sign when the best character is the one who's supposed to be written as the bad guy and when you're cheering for the villain instead of the adequate and solid but ultimately unmemorable characters he's blackmailing. And being a melodrama, Vera Sisson's character of Mary is too good, too pure, too devoted to her boyfriend Douglas and her father that she only marries the Count as part of the blackmail scheme, not because romantic feelings for him ever enter into her head. When he announces to his friend that he's getting rather tired of how this blackmail marriage isn't consummated and how she isn't voluntarily coming to his room like he told her to do when she felt ready, I was almost hoping there would be a rape scene like in 'Son of the Sheik,' make things interesting and lively. Unfortunately Roberto doesn't succeed in breaking into Mary's room, where the family maid is fiercely protecting her. Besides the attempted break-in, the most exciting scene is the car crash. Another highlight is the ten-minute excerpt from the 1919 film 'Eyes of Youth'; I'm interested in seeing the whole film now and not just RV's cameo."