In the Jacobite Rising of 1745, the Young Pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie leads an insurrection to overthrow the Protestant House of Hanover and restore his family, the Catholic branch of the House of Stuart, to the British throne.
A band of Gypsies are camped outside the walls of Count Arnheim's palace. Oliver's wife kidnaps the Count's daughter Arline, then leaves the child and runs off with her lover, Devilshoof. ... See full summary »
When bored courtesan Zelie de Chaumet begs her lover, the corrupt and powerful Stetz, to take her slumming, the pair encounter Pierre Boucheron, alias 'The Rat' , boy-king of the Paris ... See full summary »
A wealthy young Southern aristocrat, Joseph, graduates from a seminary and, before he takes charge of his assigned parish, decides to go out and see what "the real world" is all about. He ... See full summary »
The first twenty minutes of this silent adaptation of the operetta are missing. What is gone is basically the set-up, which explains how Austrian Count Henry Vibart's daughter winds up with a bunch of gypsies, and how Polish Count Ivor Novello winds up being adopted by them, following the Partition of Poland. By the time the little girl has grown up to become Gladys Cooper, she and Novello are in love. This makes Gypsy Queen Constance Collier jealous.
Making a silent adaptation of an operetta would seem to be thankless task, especially to a modern viewer with no sympathy for the theatrical form. Songs which define the show are reduced to phrases in the titles, and the stage spectacle of a number lost entirely. What is left are some very interesting credentials, including roles for Ellen Terry (as the nurse), C. Aubrey Smith as a gypsy, source novel by Cervantes and Joseph von Sternberg with his third movie credit as an assistant director. Some writers claim that some of the visual dazzle of the movie are his vision. I find that suspect. At this distance, it's impossible to tell if some of the staging is his idea, and he would repeat that sort of ornate mise-en-scene later, or if he noted what worked in this production and thought it worthy of redoing.
In any case, what survives is an interesting work, if only for the talent associated with it, and an example of what the British film industry was producing right at the peak of post-World-War-One movie making, before the industry turned down.
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