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The other reviewer on this page has sufficiently given the thread of
the romantic narrative, so I won't repeat it here. Novello in his
fourth film has little to do but stand around and look melancholy,
which he does rather well. He was only 29 when this film was released
and he is still a bit boyishly beautiful. Indeed Gladys Cooper was
famed as a great beauty of the time, but in the one close-up they
share, she seems rather plain and no match for his perfection.
The film is typical of its day. The camera moves but once during the film, it dollies in to the dream pair during the Marble Halls sequence, otherwise it is static. The shots are primarily long and medium shots with very few two shots and even fewer close-ups. Acting is alternately melodramatic and restrained. One has the feeling one is watching tableaux.
Ellen Terry has little to do as the nurse and no close-ups. Her appearance in the film is a notable one, however.
All in all, a curio, worth seeing only for fans of Novello and Cooper.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Balfe's light opera The Bohemian Girl was filmed several times, including later with Laurel and Hardy. This 1922 British version survives, as far as I can tell from the copy I found, only in a length missing the first two of the story's original 7 1/2 reels. At this point a band of gypsies who have been staying in an Austrian castle kidnap a little girl of noble birth. There is also an impetuous young man, a Polish exile of noble birth as well, who has taken refuge in the castle even though it was the Austrians who attacked his country. Both land up in the gypsy camp, where the Queen tells the girl's fortune. Later when the girl is given a medallion belonging to the castle's Count, that had been stolen by another gypsy,and is caught with the stolen item at a fair, the Count recognizes her when she is brought in, as his daughter who had been kidnapped earlier. The romance between her and the Polish nobleman, which at first had been threatened because it would be mingling of gypsy and high born blood, can now be fulfilled. A dream sequence from before where the girl dreamt she "dwelt in noble halls," as the song goes, can now be repeated as the real thing in a happy ending. Josef Von Sternberg, who was in England at the time, worked on this as Assistant Director, though it's far fetched to claim, as the comment on the print's credits does, that the "careful composition" of the images shows anything of his later style. What is especially impressive though is the cast that was brought together for this adaptation. British heartthrob Ivor Novello stars as Thaddeus the Pole. A young and attractive Gladys Cooper plays the grown up girl Alene. Famous stage star Ellen Terry has a supporting role as Alene's nurse Buda. Constance Collier (known today to film fans as the elderly actress in Stage Door) plays the Gypsy Queen. Fellow character actor C Aubrey Smith of the hawk like profile plays the gypsy Devilshoof, and Gibb McLaughlin also has a role as the Captain.
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