Brute Island (1914) comes as something of a surprise. Harry Carey is the writer, director and star, but he actually looks older here than he did twenty years later. His screenplay is absolute penny-dreadful tosh and he has directed it in a somewhat lumbering, over-intensive, slow-as-she-goes, penny dreadful style. There are no surprises. Any keen fan could anticipate the whole story after watching the first reel. And as for the acting, let's just say that plump, slow-moving, super-slow burning-up-with-jealousy Fern Foster as a native princess with eyes for our Harry (she was actually married to him at the time) is everything bad that those who denigrate silent movies like to write about. The other players, including Harry himself, are likewise over-emphatic, but by the standard of 1914, they are not too senile. As said, it's mostly Harry's story itself that is pure tosh. It's the second of four films Carey directed between 1914 and 1916, and the fourth of twenty he wrote between 1913 and 1925. The original release was tinted and toned, but Alpha's DVD, alas, is presented in murky black and white.
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