|Index||5 reviews in total|
Fascinating Gloria Swanson film from 1927. Not remembered as a great,
but this film has some very modern ideas. Swanson plays a young woman
whose spirit is restless. She is being pushed into a loveless marriage
by her bankrupt father, but she's in love with another man (John Boles)
about to sail to South America for business. She also wants to pursue a
career as an opera singer. At this juncture a strange man (Hugh Miller)
appears and offers her a glimpse into the future via a crystal ball.
Sounds corny but you have to remember the 20s was a decade crazy for
the occult. And The Love of Sunya is prefaced by an Egyptian story in
which a young girl is killed by a lustful priest. His destiny is to
track down her spirit and make amends. Holy Karma! Very New Age.
Swanson gazes into the ball and her future as an opera star in Paris is revealed. Her second viewing tells of her loveless marriage. Taking this into account she makes her decision. This film was, by the way, Swnason's first effort as a producer. The Love of Sunya made its world premiere in the brand new Roxy Theatre in New York with Swanson in attendance. In her autobiography she says, "the audience stood and cheered for five minutes."
This film allows Swanson (30 at the time and a super star) a full range of emotions and plots in 4 different roles. She looks great and wears some fabulous clothes, especially the Deco dress and jewelry ensemble during the Paris story. Her performance is one of her best even though this film is remembered as being a disappointment. It's very entertaining and fast-paced at 75 minutes. This was also Boles' first important role. Raymond Hackett plays the brother. Ian Keith is the rat Anthony.
A great treat for fans of the fabulous Gloria Swanson. The Love of Sunya certainly stands on its own as a terrific silent film.
Gloria Swanson was an interesting person and this is an interesting
Contrary to what some modern and vintage reviewers would have you believe, the film was well received and played for weeks at some theaters. I know this because I happened to read statistics in a Motion Picture Yearbook published in 1927 and available at our local university library.
If a studio produced such a film today it would be called a "New Age" sort of movie. The heroine, wealthy Sunya Ashling, meets a mysterious man who keeps hanging around the mansion during a pivotal moment in her life. She is being rushed by a family crisis into making a decision (whether to marry an industrialist or pursue a career in music in Europe) which will affect the rest of her life. He shows her a crystal ball and bids her look in it and "see" the logical consequences of each outcome.
It turns out that the mysterious man sought her out because he sexually assaulted her in a previous life thousands of years ago in Egypt when she was living the life of a temple priestess. She tumbled into a fire pit in a temple while fleeing him and died. He has never had, or perhaps has never taken, the opportunity to make amends until the 20th century. Throughout the movie, she never knows this, but it does not matter. The pace is slow and the acting is stylized and stiff, but if you can get past these flaws you will be rewarded with a pretty cool ending.
At this point in her career Gloria was trying to shake off the reputation of being a costume drama actress. This movie has a thin plot but as usual Gloria is well coiffed and gowned as was what the public of '27 was buying into. This is a OK film but I prefer her soap operas with Cecil B. DeMille much more. The film is one of her first efforts under UA and that may explain the drastic change from the "Don't change your husband" days. Its worth watching if you are a true lover of silents and feel you must add this to your "have seen" list. She looks good though :) As with most of Glorias work you must ask why were the plots so trite?
Gloria Swanson and the rest of the cast make this film tolerable, but the
plot doesn't give one any surprises, nor do we find ourselves caring about
the characters with any great depth of feeling. The Egyptian mysticism
wasn't necessary to the film and actually made the film more superficial
than it could have been without it. Perhaps Gloria was taking her cues from
her past relationship and films with Cecil B. DeMille, but still we could
easily have seen the results of Sunya's choices without the aid of a crystal
Best thing about "The Love Of Sunya", for me, was seeing John Boles in a silent film. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for him, and he was so young here. Not to mention he was great in the love scenes; very easy on the eyes. :)
The print I saw was on VHS and very dark; I don't know if the DVD version print is any better, since it seems to be unavailable. The piano score was uninspiring. See the film if you have an interest in Gloria Swanson or John Boles, but other than that the film itself is rather forgettable.
First reason : that film was the one at the première of the weird and spectaculor movie theatre the Roxy, of New York. At my second degree at the university, I have study movie theatres in Quebec and North America, so I have seen a lot of pictures of that première. Closing my eyes, I'm there watching the Gloria Swanson movie. There's a wonderful but sad photography of miss Swanson, very diva in the ruins of the Roxy in 1960, like she was returning to the very chic place of her past fame. Second reason to watch this : Pauline Garon. She was a French Canadian from Montreal and have play in many Hollywood films of the silent era. Nobody here remember her, but in the newspaper of Quebec during the 1920's, all her films were big success, just because she was in it. See our lovely patriot having success in Hollywood! People here were very pround of her and she when she came in my home town of Trois- Rivières, en 1932, she was welcomed here like she was the biggest star of all time! In that movie, I saw her for the first time. Beautiful blonde plays a flapper. Now! What about the film? I don't think it represents the best from Gloria Swanson, but it shows what films for women will be in the 1930's. Seeing miss Swanson in the banal melodrama, we sometimes think of films of Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. This isn't a great silent movie, but it can represent the regular factory film of Hollywood of the time.
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