In 1914 a girl of the streets is befriended by two dashing young officers, an Austrian and a Russian. Both fall in love with her, but she picks the Austrian. When the war begins, Her town is overrun by Russians, lead by the once charming, now vengeful officer, who takes her prisoner and threatens death if she won't marry him. Written by
Talmadge Glamour! Dashing Roland! - fascinating silent film
I saw this film at a rare showing two years ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. This was my first silent Talmadge film and I was taken aback by her! I had only seen her two talkies, but this film demonstrated to me what she was all about in the silent era. She was absolutely hypnotic to watch, an extremely good actress, and projected a presence as bewitching and beguiling as Garbo. A STAR every inch of the way! It seemed to me that Garbo was probably influenced by her silent acting techniques. She even gets unbelievable close-ups, like those done with Garbo and Dietrich in the 1930s.
Gilbert Roland and Norma were having a real life romance at the time, much to the sorrow of her husband producer Joseph Schenck. This is their third time together as a team and the sparks fly here in this film. Gilbert absolutely compliments her visually. Their love scenes are romantic and tender without ever being maudlin.
The film is beautifully photographed and well mounted. It is set in Austria during World War I, and the war torned Austrian villages are expertly recreated on the Hollywood back lots. Over all the film is a treat to watch.
I must say that Talmadge goes from being a sassy and good-hearted prostitute to a repentant savior of her friends at the end, as well as winning Gilbert Roland too. They really ought to put this rare film on video or DVD for all to see.
Final note: This was Norma's last silent film, except that it was released with a musical sound track in 1928.
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