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F. Richard Jones
It's the mid-nineteenth century. The neighboring Shore and Crowninshield families of the American east coast have a long tradition of seafaring. Of Jeremiah Shore's four sons, the only one not at sea is the youngest, Joel Shore, solely because of his age. Joel has had a long friendship with the Crowninshield's daughter, Priscilla Crowninshield, that friendship which is now on the brink of romantic love as they become of age, although this new-found love is unspoken on both sides. Joel hopes that when his eldest brother, Mark Shore, captain of the Nathan Ross, returns home from his latest voyage, he will allow Joel to sail with him. Although Mark still sees Joel as the "youngin'" of the family, Joel, through slightly underhanded means, is able to convince Mark that he is man enough to become a sailor. Also on this layover at home, Mark notices that Priscilla has become a beautiful young woman, who he now wants to marry. Mark arranges the engagement with his father and Priscilla's ... Written by
This is a good silent film, with high MGM production values, good acting, story and direction to me the 84 minutes running time flew by.
Ramon Navarro and Joan Crawford are young lovers Joel and Priscilla who are unexpectedly and unintentionally thwarted by his chunky big brother Cap'n Mark played by Ernest Torrence suddenly being publicly announced as being betrothed to her. From the playful opening scenes at the shipwreck, jolly dinner party and rites of passage (for Joel) bar-room brawl it gets serious, coinciding with a pivotal voyage to Singapore on the Nathan Ross. The other two brothers are summarily dismissed from the plot by Noah getting washed overboard in a storm and Matthew lost with the Sea Robin. The only bit I didn't like was Mark crazy with drink in Singapore presumably not still moping about Priscilla because Joel had smoothed it over on board the ship, but the implication it was caused by guilt over his six month relationship with Anna May Wong who was meant to be seen as a lesser mortal by the highly moral white audience. Favourite bits: the juvenile scenes by Joel at the dinner party; the storm scenes; the very realistic climactic fight scene; the main players' conflicting emotions as the plot unravels. The print saved is generally good but can be a bit dodgy - only just pre-combustion in places, but bearable if you get into the story.
Well worth watching for all sorts of reasons if nothing else for Novarro and Crawford and MGM being young and full of life and promise.
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