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The Enchanted Cottage (1924)

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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Ida Waterman ...
Alfred Hickman ...
Rupert Smallwood
Florence Short ...
Ethel Bashforth
Marion Coakley ...
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Major Hillgrove (as Holmes E. Herbert)
Ethel Wright ...
Harry Allen ...
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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 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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24 March 1924 (USA)  »

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A Cabana Encantada  »

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1.33 : 1
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A print of this film still exists at the Library of Congress. See more »

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Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

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The Eye of the Beholder
23 May 2010 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Wounded serving in "The Great War" (World War I), formerly handsome Richard Barthelmess (as Oliver Bashforth) hobbles around the house with a cane. His misshapen body has caused him to forbid mirrors, lest he be reminded of his changed appearance. Despite this statement, a mirror prominently appears on the screen, showing Mr. Barthelmess his sad reflection. Depressed after seeing his wartime sweetheart fall in love with an able-bodied man, Barthelmess decides to move out of his parents' estate, to a small cottage. Still, he is pestered by mannish sister Florence Short (as Ethel), who continually feels she must "look after" Barthelmess.

To ward off Ms. Short, who he fears is about to move in with him, Barthelmess proposes to homely May McAvoy (as Laura Pennington), a woman he's acquainted with through blind friend Holmes Herbert (as Major Hillgrove). Even blind, Mr. Holmes knows Ms. McAvoy is ugly because, "We sense what other people see." But, McAvoy is kind, and agrees to become companion to Barthelmess, through marriage. The pitiful newlyweds take care of each other, but hide from most people - with the exception of blind friend Holmes. Together, they find "The Enchanted Cottage" they live in was home to 300 years of honeymooning lovers.

Like the spirits of couples roaming around the cottage, Barthelmess and McAvoy fall in love. Then, something magical changes their disfiguring appearances. McAvoy abruptly loses her overbite and crooked nose (shown in dramatic profile dissolve). Barthelmess exclaims, "How blind I've been - you are beautiful!" Then he stands up straight as she exclaims, "You are wonderful to me!" The newly attractive pair are deliriously happy, of course. They share the miracle of their appearance with blind friend Holmes. After considering Holmes' counsel, Barthelmess and McAvoy decode to reveal their newly-found beauty to his family…

This leads to the film's most dramatic scene, which you really should see for yourself. The Arthur Wing Pinero story, re-made with Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire in 1945, is indeed enchanting. This version benefits from the appearance of two great stars who successfully left their respective "nests" - Barthelmess from Griffith, McAvoy from DeMille - and found good roles. Here, McAvoy is most successful, due to the nose and teeth work looking extraordinarily realistic (possibly helped by a fuzzy print, but still). Barthelmess fares less well, apparently stricken with the paralytic disorder Lon Chaney suffered in "Flesh and Blood" (1922).

Directed by John S. Robertson, "The Enchanted Cottage" was the ninth best film of the year, per "Motion Picture" magazine.

****** The Enchanted Cottage (3/24/24) John S. Robertson ~ Richard Barthelmess, May McAvoy, Holmes Herbert, Florence Short


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