"The Eyes of Julia Deep" seems like a more modern comedy than when it was made in two respects. First is its suggestion of premarital cohabitation of the lead characters. In the beginning of the picture, they both live at a lodge on separate floors, but then Julia suggests they form a "co-operative society", which is explicitly offered as a financial matter, to which Terry responds, "And have our meals together?" Along with their chaperon maid, the two are seen occupying the same spaces for much of the film, although still with their separate bedrooms, we may presume but never see. The second rather modern aspect relates more to the history of screen comedy: it seemed to me that by the end of the film at least, the comedy was almost screwball--similar to the romantic comedies of the 1930s and later. It seems quite distinct from the slapstick or other sort of gags and humor done elsewhere on screen by 1918. Much of the film isn't too different from other light romances made at the time, but the marriage and prison episodes near the end are more frantic and absurdly funny.
Another thing this little film has going for it is a quality ensemble cast. Mary Miles Minter is especially appealing. From this film, I see little support of Kevin Brownlow and, one of Minter's directors, Edward Sloman's criticisms of her acting ("The Parade's Gone By"), although there's something to the suggestion that she was a poor man's Mary Pickford, as there's a slight resemblance in appearance and, indeed, Miles did rather try to replace Pickford at Paramount after the latter left that company. Regardless, I found Minter appealing in this film, for her acting and her looks; her close-ups display her good use of facial expressions--her entire face, not just the eyes.
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