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So Big (1924) - Heart-Breaking loss

Author: Pamela Short from Canada
17 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Important note: This is not a film review. It is my ambition to add as many silent film synopsis of films that have a survival status of unknown or presumed lost. I try to do as much research as I can and it is not my intention to deceive anyone, for sometimes the film does exist and some presumed lost films are still being discovered. I am more than delighted if someone has knowledge of a film listed as lost but survives, as I wish all silent films did survive. I hope the reader enjoys this brief synopsis.

After graduating from a fashionable finishing school and touring Europe with her father, Selina Peake ( Colleen Moore ) returns to the United States, where her father is accidentally killed after losing his fortune in a gambling den. Selina is reduced to teaching in a high school in the Dutch community at High Prarie near Chicago. She boards in the farmhouse of Klass Poole ( Wallace Beery ), a dull-witted market gardener, and finally marries Pervus DeJong ( John Bowers ), a poor and backward farmer. She shares the drudgery of her husband's futile life and finds happiness only in their small son, Dirk, whom she calls "So-Big." Pervus dies from the strain of hard work, and Selina is reduced to abject poverty, eking out a marginal existence selling the few vegetables she can raise. When she meets Julie Hempel ( Charlotte Merriam ), an old school friend, Julie's father lends her enough money to begin to farm her land successfully. After eighteen years of stinting and hard work, Selina sees Dirk ( Ben Lyon ) educated as an architect, but Dirk's promising career is then threatened by scandal. William Storm ( Henry Herbert ), the husband of the woman with whom Dirk has been having an affair, threatens to name him as corespondent in a divorce suit. Selina appeals to Storm not to ruin her son's life, and Storm relents. Dirk returns to his true love, Dallas ( Phyllis Haver ), and Selina looks forward to a serene old age.

This 1924 silent drama was based on the novel So Big by Edna Ferber, starring Colleen Moore, Wallace Beery, Gladys Brockwell, Ben Lyon, John Bowers and Phyllis Haver. The loss of SO Big is an extremely heart-breaking one for silent cinema and fans of Colleen Moore. On can hold out hope a copy survives somewhere and resurfaces for public viewing.

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