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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Impossible to judge since the sound is lost...

Author: 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 present.

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 find out.

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 to her.

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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