Joseph Carl Breil's score is often considered the first original musical score written specifically for a motion picture. Breil was a prominent American composer of opera and operetta in addition to his film score work. See more »
This is a curio, a filmed play which is silent, but retains Miss Bernhardt's bow at the end, a film which tells you what is going to happen in the scene before it does (in case you didn't get it), and which takes enormous liberties with fact as historical films always do. This is the story of Elizabeth and Essex, so those of us who are familiar with Davis and Flynn and their version can have some fun drawing comparisons ... it's not without its unintentionally amusing moments (just how, when Elizabeth visits Essex's body after his execution, has his head been put back on his body without leaving a scar, and why, when Elizabeth dies, does she fall on some conveniently placed cushions?) but these aside its an entertaining 40 minutes, well acted by all concerned and not as stilted as I thought it might be. Miss Bernhardt comes across as something special even in silence and something is better than nothing. If you like silents and can give old ones a chance, you'll probably like this. The picture quality wasn't great on the copy I saw but it is nearly 90 so I think we can make allowances ... one I'll happily watch again.
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