2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Impossible to judge since the sound is lost...
calvinnme from United States
26 November 2010
and that is why I am not rating this film, since apparently it was
quite a hit as a talkie with the tragic Gladys Brockwell in particular
being singled out for good reviews. I only have a VHS tape of the
silent version of this film, and it is quite difficult to follow.
Unlike some of the other early talkies, this was not a silent film with
a few sentences of dialog inserted for the novelty of it all the
absence of which you do not even notice, such as in the case of 1928's
"Lady of Chance" which also survives only silent and is quite
satisfying as it is. Instead, The Drake Case was filmed at Universal as
a talkie with complete dialogue. Since few theatres were wired for
sound in 1929, it was slated to also be released as a silent. As such,
titles were inserted to try to explain what was going on. However,
because The Drake Case is apparently a very chatty talkie, as was the
custom in very early talking film, and missing that traditional silent
film pantomime, no title cards can adequately explain the situation.
Thus, nobody even tried. So you have the players conversing for quite a
long time, and not giving you any gestures as you would normally have
in a true silent film to cue you in on what's going on, then you'll get
a title card that says "Lulu was upset". At what? Why? No further
elaboration is given. And on it goes like this for the better part of
an hour. A good analogy would be the films made prior to 1910 in which
very little in the way of plot is conveyed and very few title cards are
The plot of the film is about a maid who is accused of killing the lady
of the house. Deepening suspicions against her, it is discovered that
the maid's dead mistress was married to the maid's ex-husband, a man
that the maid had thought was long dead. Thus the maid did have a
motive via jealousy. Did she do it? If not, who did do it? Watch and
One particularly tragic thing about the loss of the sound version of
this film is that we'll never be able to judge the last performance
Gladys Brockwell ever gave, as she died suddenly in an automobile
accident two weeks after this film was completed. Supposedly Ms.
Brockwell's mother was seen repeatedly viewing the film as long as it
ran in theatres. I guess a talking record of her daughter on film
keeping the illusion of her life around just a bit longer was a comfort
Watch it if you're interested in film history, but it is not very
entertaining in its current difficult to decipher state.
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