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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
Novarro has magic and Crawford's still in-training
The story is well known and has been made often. Two brothers in love with the same woman. Of course, the one she is betrothed to is NOT the one she loves.
The only remaining copy of this film was saved and restored right before it disintegrated; so the viewing can be a bit blotchy, especially towards the end.
Joan Crawford is still learning her craft and does a lot of the silent-star grimacing that so often accompanies the over-acting damsel-in-distress routine of the 20's. She is definitely miscast in the role of a milquetoast girl who won't speak her mind to the right people. But it is interesting to watch her as she puts her best foot forwards, as always.
Ramon Novarro is the real STAR of this movie. There are abundant close-ups and he really does have a timeless magic. His boyishness and earnest attitude seems very real and is completely endearing. His character is well-cast and his is the only believable role aside from the villain ship-mate played by Jim Mason.
Ernest Torrence has the best role for an actor with opportunities galore to chew the scenery ... and he DOES with gusto. Much too old for the part he is playing, his saving grace is that he IS a likeable curmudgeon and the viewer may choose to overlook his miscasting.
If you love Novarro, don't miss this. If you love Crawford, check her out as she attends MGM's acting class 101. If you love sea dramas, this is just ok. As a silent film, it's watchable and mildly entertaining, but no great classic.
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