Natascha, a White Russian countess, stows away on a luxury liner at Hong Kong, determined to seek a new life in America. Natascha hides in the cabin of Ogden Mears, a millionaire diplomat, ... See full summary »
Marie St. Clair believes she has been jilted by her artist fiance Jean when he fails to meet her at the railway station. She goes off to Paris alone. A year later, mistress of wealthy Pierre Revel, she meets Jean again. Misinterpreting events she bounces back and forth between apparent security and true love. Also misinterpreting, Jean commits suicide. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Graceful, elegant photography and concise storytelling are made imperfect by missing narrative elements that would have made the film more plausible.
Finally saw Woman of Paris: this was a legendary film in its day, but mostly because it was virtually never re-released for sixty years after it premiered in 1923, so the legend grew in its absence. The parts of the story that were not told would have made a better movie than the movie, for example why the lovers' fathers at the beginning of the film are against the marriage, and how Marie (Edna Purviance) became a (shudder) "Woman of Paris" during the year following her departure from her fiance. So I didn't buy the story but the camera work and editing do marvelous things with the story that is there. The melodramatic climax is a bit much to be believed, but not comical as a lot of silent mellers appear today. A little D.W. Griffith (sophisticated early use of photography to tell story and set mood), a little Tolstoy ("bad woman" story contrasted with storyteller's emphasis on happy marriages and wholesome family life), a touch of Dreiser ("sinful" characters shown with realistic insight) and I'd guess a soupcon of Terrence Ratigan (sophisticated attitudes) but I doubt he was around then. The ad copy for this film says Chaplin has a cameo as a railway porter but I didn't notice one in the train scene: I suspect instead he was the ticket agent whose hand appears pointing out the ticket window toward the train. Altogether a satisfying and entertaining film, but the story would have been better if Chaplin had worked on it a little longer.
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