Socialite Anatol Spencer seeks a better relation that he has with his wife. He sets up the friend of his youth Emilie in an apartment only to have her two-time him. He comforts the near ... See full summary »
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Socialite Anatol Spencer seeks a better relation that he has with his wife. He sets up the friend of his youth Emilie in an apartment only to have her two-time him. He comforts the near suicide Annie only to have her rob him of his wallet. "Satan" Synne, the "wickedest woman in New York," looks promising but she's only plying her trade to help raise funds for her husband's surgery. He decides to return to his wife, with all her faults, only to find her carousing with his best friend Max. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
In the flashback sequence where Emilie is on a swing and two mirrors are set up to give repeated reflections of the action, the cameraman bending over his camera is visible a few times when the swing moves out of the way. See more »
A man, blinded by his need to be good, he can't help but get in trouble
The Affairs of Anatol (1921)
A long, involved, romantic and slightly moralizing movie about a really good hearted man caught between two women. That's the reason to watch it, that and Gloria Swanson in the lead as the wife. The other woman (Wanda Hawley) is a bit of a siren, and our good fellow is trying to be a charitable fellow with her, and only gets himself in trouble. She plays him like a child.
The year, 1921, is just at the point where the silent film is solidifying and getting sophisticated in a modern sense. There is still a lot of static (fixed) camera in this one (even though one of the photographers was the legendary Karl Struss). This puts the emphasis on the acting, which rises to the occasion. The copy I saw had some great hand colored title cards and some scenes that were toned in rich yellows or other colors, which made it all quite fun. The conflict between the two women, and the intrusion of another man or two, make this a classic soap opera kind of drama, well done and clear enough to follow once you get the basic flow. There are sort of two halves, and the second part out in the country is a nice shift even though the theme remains similar.
Of interest? The director, Cecil B. De Mille, had a hugely influential and long career, and this is toward the beginning, and it shows his tendency to find the popular themes that audiences would connect with, rather than push technical or aesthetic boundaries. Some might call him a populist, interest above all in success, but he was an expert director who knew how to make a movie really coherent, handling the story and actors with precision and a sympathetic feel. And the subject matter here is actually a bit edgy--a married man hanging out with a woman in her most intimate spaces. The play of the "bad" woman against the "good" one is a little expected, of course, but it's such a heartwrenching problem for this nice guy who just wants to help (or so he says), it's painfully enjoyable to watch.
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