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Joe E. Brown,
William Collier Jr.
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The real-life courtship, marriage, and forced breakup of Jérôme Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, and his rich wife from the American south, Elizabeth Patterson. Napoleon did not approve of the union and fixes him up with another girl.
The Vasquez family are one of the oldest families in San Francisco, but their day of glory is past and now all that remains of them are an old man and his granddaughter, the innocent Dolores. The villainous Chris Buckwell wants to steal their land and ranch from them, even using unfair means to get his hands on it. One of his employees' has a nephew who falls for Dolores, however, and together they make plans to save the ranch. Unfortunately for them, Buckwell has a secret and discovering it might prove dangerous. Written by
This is one of the last silent films, made just before "The Jazz Singer" came out, and it is technically better than most of the other silent films as it used Warner Brothers Vitaphone technique.
It also benefits from a tour d'force by Dolores Costello (who was the wife of John Barrymore at the time) and is probably one of her best roles. She manages to go beyond the silent film melodrama, as does Anna May Wong, the busiest Asian woman in films in the first half of the 20th Century.
Warner Oland (a Swede who nonetheless almost always play an Asian, including his stint as Charlie Chan) shows up as a Chinese thug who masquerades as a White man, although Oland is not at the top of his game here.
The climax of the film is the 1906 earthquake and for the time it is spectacular. The version of the restored film I saw had both the beginning and the end in harsh sepia tones, but the middle was fine.
The film is well worth viewing as one of the last great silent films.
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