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Unlike the other "reviewer" i have actually seen this film in 1986. Leatrice Gilbert Fountain introduced a short season of her father's films at the NFT in London,which included this film.Although it is some 20 years since i saw this film i did keep notes.These indicate that Gilbert's performance is poor and his voice weak.The dialogue was ludicrous although the film was amusing.The famous scene where he keeps kissing his leading lady whilst saying over and over again"I love you" was of course superbly parodied in "Singing In The Rain".I have seen some of his later films and there doesn't seem to be anything too funny about his voice.However what we over 75 years later tend to forget is that by and large the stars only had one shot at it.Either they passed with flying colours or they were washed up.After all Gilbert's sad demise is one of countless casualties of the arrival of sound.However his is the highest profile casualty.
I have never seen this film, except on a series about Hollywood in the
Silent Film period made in the 1980s (James Mason narrated). In an episode
about Gilbert and Garbo, and how the sound revolution did not hurt her (it
enhanced her sexual allure and mystery) while it smashed his career.
Supposedly the verile Gilbert sounded squeaky, and the clearest example of
this was this film, where Gilbert was forced to recite lousy dialogue. The
snippet of film had him declaring over and over again "Darling, I love you!
I love your!" It would have been more lethal than an iceberg in sinking
Still, I would be curious to see the film (if they ever show it again). The script is based on a play by Ferenc Molnar, Hungary's greatest playwrite (his best known plays are THE PLAY'S THE THING, and LILLIOM - the original drama that the musical CAROUSEL is based on), so while it may have been below par it still might be worth listening to (outside of poor Gilbert's dialogue). Later films of the sound period, like QUEEN CHRISTINA and THE CAPTAIN HATES THE SEA suggest that Gilbert's voice was sufficiently masculine for his career to have survived had his films been chosen more carefully. But the public only remembered "Darling, I love you! I love you!" Very regretable.
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