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Don Juan (1926)

Passed | | Adventure, Romance | 19 February 1927 (USA)
In 16th Century Italy, devil-may-care playboy Don Juan runs afoul of the despotic Borgias.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Donna Isobel
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Leandro
...
...
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Count Giano Donati (as Montague Love)
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Duke Della Varnese (as Joseph Swickard)
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Pedrillo
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Marchese Rinaldo
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Marchesia Rinaldo
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Mai - Lady in Waiting
...
...
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Storyline

If there was one thing that Don Juan de Marana learned from his father Don Jose, it was that women gave you three things - life, disillusionment and death. In his father's case it was his wife, Donna Isobel, and Donna Elvira who supplied the latter. Don Juan settled in Rome after attending the University of Pisa. Rome was run by the tyrannical Borgia family consisting of Caesar, Lucrezia and the Count Donati. Juan has his way with and was pursued by many women, but it is the one that he could not have that haunts him. It will be for her that he suffers the wrath of Borgia for ignoring Lucrezia and then killing Count Donati in a duel. For Adriana, they will both be condemned to death in the prison on the river Tigre. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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character name in title | See All (1) »

Taglines:

MEN FEARED HIM, WOMEN ADORED HIM. A flash of his sword was death to an enemy- a flash of his eye was fatal to any woman. (Print ad- Sunday Mail,((Brisbane, Queensland)) 30 January 1927) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 February 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Don Juan - Der große Liebhaber  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (musical score and sound effects)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this was the first feature film with a Vitaphone soundtrack (therefore being the first film with a completely synchronized soundtrack), it is by no means the first sound film. The first sound film can be dated back to 1895; the process was re-discovered and improved by a French company (using a gramophone) in 1910. In 1913 Thomas A. Edison announced that all the problems of sound films were solved, and showed what he called "the first sound film." As in the earlier efforts, Nursery Favorites (1913) had a gramophone that appeared to synchronize with the film. There was one problem: the film was projected at the wrong speed, and the soundtrack was slowed down inadvertently. This problem happened all too often, and a frustrated Edison abandoned his process. In 1921 D.W. Griffith employed various experts to film a sound introduction for his film Dream Street (1921), which still exists, and the performance went off without a hitch. Griffith soon stopped using sound because he thought it was financial suicide, stating, "Only 5% of the world speaks English, so why should I lose 95% of my audience?" However, by 1925 sound had arrived in the form of radio, and it was inevitable that film would follow. Movie studios tried various innovations to keep audiences coming (Technicolor, wide screen, etc.). Warner Brothers, then a lesser film company, bought the old Brooklyn-based Vitagraph Studios and its all-important network of 34 film exchanges (the film distribution network vital to each studio) in 1925 and laid out plans to become a dominant force in the film industry. Sam Warner, one of the four Warner brothers, felt the future was in sound and convinced his skeptical older brother Harry M. Warner (the money man) to throw their lot in with Western Electric's 16" disc-based recording system, forming the Vitaphone Corp. on April 20, 1926, as 70% stockholders. Oddly, Sam never envisioned the system for voice synchronization; rather, he saw it as an economical way to add the dimension of musical accompaniment. The Vitaphone process solved the synchronization problem electromechanically, corresponding the projection speed with the recorded disc by utilizing the same motor for both devices. While cumbersome in both recording (editing was impossible) and playback (discs were fragile), Vitaphone represented the peak of technological innovation, albeit briefly. This film, the first Warner Bros. feature to utilize the Vitaphone process, debuted in a gala premiere on August 6, 1926, and while it was a hit, it signaled an industry format war unrivaled until the 1980s Beta-vs.-VHS battle. Warner's The Jazz Singer (1927) would become a monster hit 13 months later, solidly proving the public's interest in sound. However, there were several sound systems then in development and none were interchangeable; the major studios like MGM and Paramount adopted a wait-and-see attitude that persisted well into 1929. The most practical, Fox's Movietone (sound on film) system, eventually won out and Warners abandoned recorded discs in 1930 but kept the Vitaphone trademark before the public well into the 1940s. See more »

Goofs

This story is set during the reign of HH Alexander VI (1492-1503); however, it features very prominently the present day Basilica of Saint Peter, whose building started during the reign of HH Julius II (1503-1513), and which was not finished until the 17th century. See more »

Quotes

Don Jose de Marana: This is my legacy to you - beware of giving your love to women. Go out into the world and take their love when it pleases you - - smile - - and forget!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Roaring Twenties (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not only film history, but also film magic!
30 March 2000 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

Yes, this was the first movie made with a synchronised music score (and some sound effects), but it is much more that that! It is wondrous and spectacular entertainment with brilliant performances and magical camerawork. Like all great silent films there are very few titles because the actors tell the story without words. And what actors they are! John Barrymore is dashing as Don Juan, but he also gives the man great emotional depth - and the scene where he transforms his face while masquerading as a villain reveals not just talent but genius! Remember how he turned from Jekyll to Hyde with no make-up in the 1920 film? He does a similar thing here.

But where would Don Juan be without beautiful women? And here we have three of the most beautiful women ever to grace the scene. Estelle Taylor as Lucrezia Borgia - beautiful but deadly. Mary Astor - bewitchingly young and charmingly innocent. Myrna Loy - exotic and evil, and exquisite!

And the camerawork is superlative. The sword fight and the horseback battle are two of the most excitingly filmed sequences I have ever seen. And the music score is excellent.

This is a wonderful movie.

And who was that incredible actor playing the jealous husband who goes mad? Never seen such brilliant mad acting!


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