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The Enchanted Cottage (1924)

 -  Drama  -  24 March 1924 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 513 users  
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A crippled World War I veteran retracts to a small cottage in the countryside to escape from his nosy family and to hide from the outside world. There he meets a plain but also a very kind ... See full summary »

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Title: The Enchanted Cottage (1924)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Ida Waterman ...
Mrs. Smallwood
Alfred Hickman ...
Rupert Smallwood
Florence Short ...
Ethel Bashforth
Marion Coakley ...
Holmes Herbert ...
Major Hillgrove (as Holmes E. Herbert)
Ethel Wright ...
Harry Allen ...
Riggs
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Storyline

A crippled World War I veteran retracts to a small cottage in the countryside to escape from his nosy family and to hide from the outside world. There he meets a plain but also a very kind young woman. She reveals to him that the house he is staying in is in fact a very old honeymoon cottage. Spirits of newlyweds from the past, who are still swirling through the cottage, soon cast a love spell upon them. Written by Aljaz Ciber, Slovenia

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based on play

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Drama

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Release Date:

24 March 1924 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cabana Encantada  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A print of this film still exists at the Library of Congress. See more »

Connections

Version of The Enchanted Cottage (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Barthelmess and McAvoy Shine
23 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This 1924 silent is a gem with a great story remade 20 years later and two tops stars: Richard Barthelmess and May McAvoy.

Barthelmess plays a young man hideously crippled from WW I. All he wants is to be left alone with his bitter thoughts, so he hies away at a seaside cottage. There he has a house keeper, but there's also a homely spinster (McAvoy in makeup) who is a local do-gooder. Neither thinks much about the other. But then his sister (Florence Short) a very masculine and pushy girl decides to come live at the cottage and take charge of her sullen brother's life. He panics and in a weak moment proposes to the homely girl so that they might not be so lonely.

We are told that the cottage is called the "Honeymoon Cottage" but it doesn't mean much until the couple is married and repulses the sister. As they get to know each other they also discover the etched (on a window) names of former lovers dating back hundreds of years.

Each secretly falls in love with the other but it's not until the spirits of former lovers start to appear that the magic of love begins to take place. Suddenly the homely girl becomes beautiful and the crippled man becomes straight and strong. In each other's eyes they become perfect and beautiful.

A blind neighbor (Holmes Herbert) seems to know what's going on and encourages the young couple who become reclusive in their honeymoon love. It's not until the man's family (including the awful sister) come to visit that the spell is broken by their crudeness. But after they leave the shattered couple (now in love) fall back together in their sorrow but wake to a new life together.

Barthelmess may well have been the best all-round actor in silent films, and he had a shot of almost every kind of part. Here he is crippled and sullen; his transformation into a strong and handsome man is quite good. Better is McAvoy's. She goes from a hawk-nose and snaggly-toothed spinster into a beauty. The make-up and special effects are quite good. As the previous reviewer notes, there is a terrific shot of the beautiful couple descending the darkened stairs to meet his family. We see a glimpse of them as they descend and are shocked to see them as their ugly selves as they come into the light of the parlor.

This film is a delicate bit of fantasy (from a play by Arthur Wing Pinero) that meditates on the qualities of love and magic. Are the couple really transformed when they are alone together. Or do they only see what love shows them? The blind man seems to think the transformations are real because he states he's still waiting. But no one else sees the "new" couple. Is beauty then in the eye of the lover?

This is a gem of a film; it's a pity it's so little known.


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