Judge Ross, on the Federal Bench, rules in favor of a large company in litigation before him, unaware that a smaller company in which he owns considerable stock has been subsumed by the ... See full summary »
Alec B. Francis
Boring period piece with good Costello performance
There is no reason to see this quite boring adaptation of the play of the same name if you are not a Dolores Costello fan. She is quite fine as the Southern belle, Betsy Patterson, who in real life was courted by Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the European conqueror on a good will American tour in 1804. They married and sailed to France, where Napoleon annulled the marriage and sent her back, wedding his brother to a Westphalian princess to secure his hold on Europe. The film has Jerome posing as Betsy's French tutor and then revealing his true identity to her at a ball welcoming him to America. The shipboard arrival in France follows with the Napoleonic encounter and Betsy's return, duping Jerome into thinking she worked out a deal with Napoleon. The added piece of non-history involves her having Jerome's child and his eventual desertion of France to return to her side.
All of this is dreadfully dull and slow moving with Conrad Nagel giving a poor performance, full of bug-eyed enthusiasm and exaggerated silent film posing. Costello is reserved in comparison and does a lovely job. There is nothing special about the film technically and sets and costumes are merely adequate. Inexplicably it earned an Academy Award nomination for Screenplay adaptation - most undeserved in my opinion.
Prints are housed in all the major American archives. The one I saw at the Library of Congress in DC did not have preserved the two sound reels (released as a part- talkie) but it was obvious where they occurred - halfway through at the ball where Jerome makes known his true identity and the conclusion when he returns to Betsy.
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