|Index||4 reviews in total|
With plenty of action, an interesting story, and a cast headed by Wallace
Beery and George Bancroft, this works well as an adventure movie. It adds
good shipboard atmosphere, and it also includes the re-enactment of some of
the history that is used as background to the story. Although the
historical setting is stylized to some degree, it seems to give a pretty
good feel for what it was like in the days when ships from the young USA did
battle with the coastal pirates of the Mediterranean.
Beery and Bancroft work quite well together, and they are entertaining, too. Beery's boisterous style can work particularly well in silent movies, since the personality of a character is more prominent than the dialogue. Charles Farrell, as the young man who sails with Beery and Bancroft, is usually rather bland, but then again his innocent, reserved character serves as a contrast to the other two. Esther Ralston is an appealing heroine, and a few of the other characters also get some good moments.
The story is interesting, with most of it following characters on "Old Ironsides" and other ships as they sail, maneuver, and battle. The shipboard atmosphere is convincing, showing the crews both in tense times and in lighter moments. It's enjoyable to see the recreation of the old sailing ships and the ways they worked. Between the details of the ships, and the interesting crew members, there are times when you almost feel as if you're aboard with them.
"Old Ironsides" is one of the many silent movies that deserve to be better known and remembered. It's worthwhile both for the story and for its recreation of the age of the great sailing ships.
This picture is absolutely fantastic. I just saw it two nights ago when I was clearing out my room and felt in the mood for a sea epic. It's funny how someone like me, who doesn't even know how to swim (and doesn't plan to), indulges himself with every sea picture he sees. Chuck Farrell proves a worthy choice for the lead; a dreamer, seeking adventure on the high seas. Esther Ralston, even though I'm anti-blonde, is gorgeous as his supporting heroine. The portion of the cast that MADE the picture however was Wallace Beery and George Bancroft. They were awesome characters and the fight scenes between them were hilarious. I will NOT reveal anymore important plot elements, see the picture for yourself and enjoy. Just make sure to bring a towel, you're bound to get drenched with excitement.
Like Orson Welles with Citizen Kane, James Cruze spent the rest of his
directorial career trying to top the success of the epic western The
Covered Wagon. The sea serves as the prairie landscape for this film,
Old Ironsides the story of the first days of that valiant ship of the
line in our new US Navy for Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes penned his
In this film the Constitution is a new ship and it's off to fight in the war against the Barbary pirates of Tripoli. In what I think is a rather unnecessary prologue we're shown scenes of the debates in the 5th Congress as to whether we should have a navy at all.
When the meat of the story gets served it's a slice of action and romance. Young Charles Farrell goes off to sea in search of adventure and gets recruited in a grog shop by boatswain Wallace Beery. Also recruited that way is George Bancroft who is a gunner on the new Constitution. Bancroft ain't happy on the way he was drafted and he and Beery have a running feud going.
As for Farrell, he's got eyes for passenger Esther Ralston, but she's out of his league. But they all get into the same fix when the Barbary pirates capture them and the ship. After that it's the US Navy and the as yet to be named Old Ironsides to the rescue. Most important for Ralston as the pirates have a choice place in the sultan's harem for her.
The Constitution was as yet to be named Old Ironsides. That would occur later on in the era before the War of 1812 when she battled the British ship of the line Guerriere. The battle scenes are well staged, the recently departed from Paramount Cecil B. DeMille couldn't have done better than Cruze.
The film holds up very well and if it isn't history it's good entertainment.
Old Ironsides a good film but you have to wait for the real action to start,which does not come in to play until you near the end of the film.But do watch and wait for there is a fantastic ship explosion which is well worth waiting for.Wallace Beery plays a right devious hard nut character and he looks the part.Esther Ralston looks great and once again toward the end of the film she lets her hair down and looks even better.The start of the film is a bit slow then when it moves on to life on the ship there are some funny parts and you get a glimpse of what life on board may have been like.Just one downside to the film for me,the Wurlitzer organ,after ten minutes it drove me mad,what did I do?, I simply turned off the volume sat back and enjoyed the rest of the film.I must say take the time to watch Treasure Island (1934)which also stars Wallace Beery, he plays a fantastic Long John Silver.
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