Jean and Marise, two young lovers, are forced from their homes by disapproving parents. To escape the oppression in their homes, the couple flees to Paris. When they arrive, Jean leaves Marise briefly to arrange their wedding when he is arrested for theft from his own father. The couple is irrevocably separated, and their lives deviate into the slums and hard labor of low-class French society. All the while, the two desperately search for their lost love. Written by
Joshua Wadlin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A young man of wealth has been disinherited by his father for falling in love with a girl of poor parents and has fled with her to Paris. They lose each other there, and are drawn into the underworld. Years later the man, now a thief sought by the police, is lured into the room of a woman of the streets. In her room he recognizes the lost sweetheart of his youth. At the same instant she realizes that this disreputable gamin before her is the lost idol of her dreams. The final reunion of the lovers makes a climax of unutterable suspense. See more »
The IMDb credited cast list is based on the 2005 alternate version. That print's credits, however, may have been modified to include Rosita Marstini and Sidney Franklin, both of whom were omitted in the published cast list in The New York Times review of 29 September 1924. See more »
In the silent year of 1925, Herr Fred Niblo directed Herr Novarro in "Ben-Hur", a colossal silent film production that made its way into film history for its magnificence and grandiloquence, but just one year before, both director and actor worked together in a modest, small silent film production as magnificent in its way as "Ben-Hur"; you only have to change ancient Rome for Paris and you have "The Red Lily".
"The Red Lily" is a superb silent film that must be recovered from oblivion for the joy of silent fan crowds around the world ( nowadays a more easy task since the longhaired people at "Warner" decided to open up their archive vaults ). The film is a small piece that highlights the virtues of silent cinema in which the complications of human nature play the lead in the film. It's a beautiful and sorrowful love story that defies destiny and moves the audience in an irresistible way.
The love story between the Major's son Jean ( Herr Ramon Novarro ) and the cobbler's daughter Marise ( Dame Enid Bennett ) will have to overcome difficult and terrible circumstances. As a German saying says "when you think that things are bad, they get worse" and that it is what happens during the whole film until a happy ending will finally bring the couple together. Set in French Brittany, social prejudices and an unjust robbery accusation will send Jean and Marise to Paris, a big city where the love of our sweethearts will suffer a terrible turning point in their lives.
Herr Niblo's superb film direction shows the fragility, uncertainty and changeability of the inner human sentiments of our heroes; they will suffer despair and hate, helplessness together in squalid conditions and, worst of all, broken dreams. Jean and Marise suffer their special "Way of the Cross" depicted on the screen by Herr Niblo with a deep, painful sorrow. It's a private tragedy full of deception that rules the lives of our heroes in which it seems that destiny is continuously sneering at them.
Astounding and remarkable is the performance of Dame Bennett in her role of Marise, one of those classical heroines of silent films; her transformation from a mild peasant to a prostitute is brilliant, an excellent example of the greatness of silent pictures and superior actresses, in which a look, a timid gesture, a cry for help, can still move longhaired audiences to trembling even today.
The film is perfectly set in different surroundings; from the Brittany provincialism and their peculiar peasants and prejudices to the Paris slums full of decadent and distinctive characters. Besides exceptional art direction you also have the great cinematography of Herr Victor Milner; it's luminous and hopeful in Brittany and gloomy in the breathless and eternal Paris night, until the finale when the sun will shine again in the broken lives of Jean and Marise.
"The Red Lily" is a beautiful film pregnant with infinite sadness about the fragility of love and life, redemption and forgiveness; a touching film story, a hidden and wonderful silent piece.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must give a bouquet of stinging nettles to a Teutonic rich heiress.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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