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Cecil B. DeMille
A law student becomes an outlaw French revolutionary when he decides to avenge the unjust killing of his friend. To get close to the aristocrat who has killed his friend the student adopts the identity of Scaramouche the clown. Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An army of workmen built a whole French village that covered 60 acres and was faithfully reproduced down to cobblestone streets and shop windows filled with actual wares. Hundreds of thousands of yards of muslin, satin, brocade and velvet were required in the making of the gorgeous costumes worn by the cast. See more »
Sticking a whole lot closer to the Rafael Sabatini novel than the MGM remake with Stewart Granger in the Fifties, the silent Scaramouche was an important milestone in the career of Ramon Novarro. It was also one of the bigger moneymakers of Metro Pictures before it combined the following year as part of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer colossus. Novarro's box office appeal was one of the bigger assets the newly created MGM acquired.
Novarro strikes the right notes of passion, romance, and swashbuckling derring-do as the young lawyer of questionable parentage who starts an odyssey of adventure when he runs afoul of nobleman Lewis Stone when he calls him out after Stone who is a master swordsman kills young Otto Matieson in a one sided contest.
With the authorities looking for him in the France of Louis XVI, Novarro takes refuge in a troupe of strolling players and plays the famous clown character Scaramouche. Before the film France falls to the Revolutionary Terror and Novarro discovers his true heritage and his true love.
Scaramouche firmly established Novarro as the number one rival of Latin Lover Rudolphe Valentino. In fact Novarro seemed to be able to handle a bigger variety of roles in silent films than Valentino. Of course we'll never know what Valentino might have done in the sound era.
Lewis Stone as the villainous nobleman who is the bane of Novarro's existence is a far cry from Judge Hardy of Carvel, the ever wise father of Mickey Rooney and Cecilia Parker later on. But Stone from the time he was on stage before the Spanish American War handled a variety of parts in stock companies and Broadway. Those were the days where you had these local theater groups to learn your trade and Stone learned it better than most. He and Lionel Barrymore were mainstays in just about every MGM production of note while they were with the studio.
Scaramouche is a deserved silent classic and don't miss it when TCM decides to run it.
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