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It is 1774, the eve of the American War of Independence. Janice comes from a Tory household. She cavorts with American and British alike, is pursued by Charles Fownes, patriot and friend of General Washington. Fields is a comic, drunken British sergeant. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Well JANICE MEREDITH is a little slow moving but has some totally great scenes and of course the underrated Marion Davies! Davies is the title character who seems to show up at all the high points of the American Revolutionary War. She plays the daughter of a wealthy Royalist and falls in love with a mysterious bond-servant (Harrison Ford) who turns out to be a nobleman who sides with the Americans.
Many great scenes include re-enactments of Paul Revere's ride (Ken Maynard) and Washington crossing a very frozen Delaware. Janice's horseback ride through the frozen and snowy countryside is also well done. The period detail is exceptional and is a hallmark of the films produced by William Randolph Hearst. Excellent battle scenes.
W.C. Fields has a comic cameo as a drunken guard. Olin Howland is the goofy intended husband. Holbrook Blinn, Spencer Charters, Maclyn Arbuckle, and the Princess de Bourbon co-star.
Marion Davies has a few lively scenes but is mostly used as the beautiful leading lady in a series of outrageous period costumes. She and Harrison Ford are quite good together.
This film was a bomb in its day, partly because Davies doesn't get to be funny. This huge historical drama could have ranked with Little Old New York and When Knighthood Was in Flower as a Davies hit if she had something more lively to do. As it stands, it's certainly not a bad film and has several exceptional sequences.
This film was thought to be lost for decades until a print showed up in England. I'm glad we have this fine and very underrated film and another chance to see the beautiful Marion Davies in a top-notch production, based on a best-selling novel by Paul Leicester Ford.
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