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Delightfully restored on TCM, one of Marion Davies' best comedies...
The good news is that even the title cards have a wit and humor that is carried over beautifully onto film under Fatty Arbuckle's direction for THE RED MILL, based loosely on a Victor Herbert operetta.
Quaint is a good word to describe the costumes and settings of the Dutch tale, which opens with a charming ice skating sequence that is played for laughs and largely succeeds because of the clever acting of MARION DAVIES and OWEN MOORE. The tale that follows is a case of mistaken identity, with Moore confusing Davies with the burgonmaster's daughter LOUISE FAZENDA, who is engaged in a comical relationship with someone else.
Davies has never been better at establishing herself as a comedienne from the start, given lots of bits of business (on and off the ice), including the stay in a haunted mill that occupies that last fifteen minutes of the story and is a good mixture of laughter and fright.
Technically, the film looks great with TCM's restoration and a bouncy score that accompanies rather than distracts (as some of the new scores do). Very worthwhile Marion Davies vehicle shows that she did indeed have promise as more than Hearst's favorite protégé.
Trivia note: The sets and costumes cry out for early Technicolor but only the night scenes are shaded a blue tint.
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