10/20/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

DVD Review: BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT / MONTE CRISTO
The Lost Films of John Gilbert



Studio: Flicker Alley
Year: 1926
Cast: John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman, Roy D'Arcy, Karl Dane, George K. Arthur, Arthur Lubin, Estelle Taylor, Robert McKim, William V. Mong, Virginia Brown Faire, Spottiswoode Aitken, Albert Prisco
Director: King Vidor, Emmett J. Flynn
Release Date: July 14, 2009
Rating: Not Rated for (mild action violence, suicide)
Run Time: 3h:16m:20s
Genre(s): drama, adventure, action

"Must I give up my freedomˇjust to prove you a fool?" - Marquise de Bardelys (John Gilbert)

BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT / MONTE CRISTO

Buy Now @ Amazon

 
  

The memory of silent screen star John Gilbert is not helped at all by the fact that so many of his pictures are no longer extant. But this new set from Flicker Alley helps correct that, with recently-discovered prints of two of Gilbert's major films, which happen to be the only ones of these films known to exist. We're very lucky indeed to have these long-hidden classics unearthed and brought to DVD in lovely restorations.

Movie Grade: A+

DVD Grade: A+

The headlining picture in the set is Bardelys the Magnificent (1926), an adaptation of a novel by the once-popular but now forgotten Rafael Sabatini. Unlike many costume pictures of the 1920s and later, it doesn't take itself very seriously, and at times shoots into parody of the Douglas Fairbanks classics of the period. The story is set in 17th century France, under King Louis XIII (Arthur Lubin). The Marquise de Bardelys (Gilbert) is a rakish lover, who is much in demand amongst women (married and otherwise), though he has run afoul of the wicked Comte de Chatellerault (Roy D'Arcy). The Comte tricks Bardelys into a wager that the Marquise will not be able to get the innocent Roxalanne de Lavedan (Eleanor Boardman) to fall in love with him. On his way to make his attempt, Bardelys makes the mistake of disguising himself as Ren╚ de Lesperon, who is being pursued by the King's men for treason, and is injured near the de Lavedan home. Nursed back to health by Roxalanne, whose family is sympathetic to the treasonous faction, Bardelys soon falls genuinely in love, and is put in a difficult situation when Roxalanne learns the truth and turns him over to be tried and hanged.

It's terrific that this film has managed to survive, especially in a print that's in such marvelous condition. The visuals are striking, with meticulously-designed costumes and frequently impressive photography from a number of unusual angles. One of the visual highlights is a love scene, brief fragments of which had been known to survive previously, as Bardelys and Roxalanne make love in a rowboat passing beneath willow boughs. Although the one surviving print is missing its third reel, luckily a substantial chunk of that missing footage is found in the film's trailer, which somehow survived when those of many other pictures of the era did not. The missing pieces are quite adequately filled by the device of stills and intertitles, and one doesn't feel anything major is missing and the picture is entirely enjoyable in its present state.

And quite enjoyable it is: the love scenes don't stall but have excellent chemistry (though not as steamy as Gilbert's notorious later scenes with Garbo), and the comedy sequences, largely thanks to George K. Arthur as an interfering country bumpkin, work very well. But best of all are the climactic action sequences, which take the Fairbanks model and run with it, with plenty of stunts and action and a suitably intense sword fight to finish things off. While Bardelys the Magnificent is a vital piece of cinematic history, it's also a vastly entertaining romp that is pleasing to the modern audience and brisk in its pacing.

The print quality on Bardelys is astounding, with mild speckling and occasional wear visible, with only one significant tear. There's plenty of detail and superb contrast (compare the blown-out quality of the segments lifted from the trailer to see just how excellent this looks overall). The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra contributes an orchestral score, and there's also an alternate piano score. Both have first rate sound quality and the Mont Alto score, as usual, is empathetic to the picture without ever getting in its way.

The companion feature is another Gilbert film extant only in a single print, the 1922 adaptation of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. Gilbert spends much of the time in heavy makeup (not always convincing) as Edmond Dantes, who has wrongfully been sent to prison at the Chateau d'If, and learns of the existence of a fabulous treasure from another prisoner, Abb╚ Faria (Spottiswoode Aitken). Dantes engineers an escape from prison, recovers the treasure and sets in motion his revenge against the four miscreants who got him locked up (played by Albert Prisco, William V. Mong, Ralph Clotinger and Robert McKim), as well as Mercedes (Estelle Taylor), the faithless woman who married one of them after Dantes was "disappeared."
The attractions in any adaptation of this work center on the glories of revenge, and Monte Cristo does not disappoint too badly in this regard. It's surprising faithful to the massive novel in its 1h:47m running time, though some major episodes are perforce dispensed with via a single intertitle. Gilbert gives a sensitive reading to Dantes, at first hopeful and trusting, then despairing, and finally monomaniacally driven yet susceptible to sympathy and reason. The editing could be tauter, since parts drag a little, but the picture carries across the hopelessness and anguish of solitary confinement exceedingly well. There are excellent examples of the use of closeups for expressive effect and emotional impact throughout, making it somewhat advanced in its technique.

I'm very pleased to finally see this picture, even though the print, from a Czech source, is indeed "worn and choppy" as the cover warns; there is a fair amount of wear and the source print is lacking in contrast, and it is indeed quite splicey (which results in some continuity problems). But the bulk of the film is present and watchable, and we should be more than grateful for that. It's an excellent companion to Bardelys, since one can see just how Gilbert had matured as an actor in four short years; it also emphasizes the tragedy of Gilbert's later career after he ran afoul of Louis B. Mayer and ended up a ruin of a man shortly afterwards. The feature includes a piano score by Neal Kurz that is rather too busy for my tastes and tends to distract a bit.

There are some good extras present as well. Jeffrey Vance and Tom Maietta contribute a fact-filled commentary to Bardelys though they are too often guilty of reading rather than commenting, and indulge in a little name-dropping and self-plugging that's a shade annoying. But it's undeniably informative and well worth listening to. They also have produced a lengthy interview (32m:15s) with Gilbert's daughter, Leatrice Gilbert Fountain, which contains many reminiscences (not all of which agree with the facts stated in the commentary). If you like stills, there are many here, with a set of galleries with well over a hundred photos of the production, cast, crew and promotional materials. Monte Cristo has its own photo gallery as well as a copy of the 1921 contract Gilbert signed with Fox for a pittance. Finally, there's a substantial booklet that contains more information about the films and their rediscovery as well as Gilbert's career in general.

Posted by: Mark Zimmer - August 24, 2009, 5:01 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: sabatini, swashbuckler, fairbanks, costume drama, parody, silent




Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store