Wealthy Cynthia is in love with not-so-wealthy Roger, who is married to Marcia. The threesome is terribly modern about the situation, and Marcia will gladly divorce Roger if Cynthia agrees ... See full summary »
Cecil B. DeMille
As the Japanese sweep through the East Indies during World War II, Dr. Wassell is determined to escape from Java with some crewmen of the cruiser Marblehead. Based on a true story of how Dr... See full summary »
Society-girl thrill seeker Lydia causes the death of motorcycle policeman and is prosecuted by her fiancé Daniel who describes in lurid detail the downfall of Rome. While she's in prison she reforms and Daniel becomes a wasted alcoholic.
Femme fatale Flora marries a titled European to save the family planation. Her husband and a rival fall to their deaths in a glacier. Next Flora weds her sister Margaret's love Admah. She ... See full summary »
Cecil B. DeMille
Henry B. Walthall,
Malena's apparent frigidity toward her husband Kenneth is a result of injustice done in an earlier incarnation when he was a knight and she was a gypsy headed for burning at the stake. This becomes evident when their unconscious minds travel back from a train wreck in the American plains to Elizabethan England. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Slick DeMille entertainment using reincarnation theme
Inexplicably setting this romantic drama at the Grand Canyon, Cecil B. DeMille was probably trying to signal the grandiosity of his reincarnation theme. However, his real intention is to deliver the box-office goods: in this case, a trainwreck, a nice swordfight, a lashing, a witchburning, not one but TWO virginity-threatening wedding nights, plus his usual comforting religious affirmation.
The plot follows two couples: glum newlyweds Joseph Schildkraut and Jetta Goudal are conflicted in their unconsummated marriage, while flapper Vera Reynolds deserts her boring fiancee for virile minister William Boyd. Soon--though inexplicably--they all find themselves on the same train to San Francisco; a crash then [inexplicably] rockets them all back to the Elizabethan era. While the four stars reconfigure their relationships, everyone spouts much Renaissance Faire dialogue ["Thou art the wastefulest tapster that ever vexed a gentle tavern-woman!"]
While DeMille tolerates some of the miming and pointing that gives silent film acting a bad name, the leads are all appealing, especially William Boyd, whose playful zest suggests early Errol Flynn. Despite playing both an innocent bride and a swarthy gypsy, the exotic Jetta Goudal gets little character to develop as both roles are one-dimensional [her performance in WHITE GOLD is considerably more complex]. The twentieth-century Joseph Schildkraut makes a credible protagonist, but the seventeenth-century Schildkraut acquires a dark bob and a pearl earring, uncannily anticipating Jack Lemmon's "Daphne" in SOME LIKE IT HOT.
In the end, what's most impressive is how smoothly DeMille manages to pack great chunks of romance, drama, action, and spectacle into this fast-moving vehicle, but anyone looking for a thoughtful treatment of reincarnation had best look elsewhere.
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