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The Thanhouser Company was a trail-blazing studio based in New Rochelle, New York, where from 1910 to 1917 it released over 1,000 films that were seen by audiences around the globe. This 53... See full summary »
1889. An Irish lord marries a beautiful gypsy but falls off his horse and dies. His family, who hates the gypsy, chase her out of home and she takes refuge in Spain. 1937. Nearly half a century later, the gypsy, fleeing the Spanish Civil War, returns to Ireland in the company of Maria, her pretty granddaughter. Maria falls for handsome Kerry, a young horse trainer, but the trouble is that she was engaged to a man in Spain. One day, the Spanish fiancé reappears. Written by
This is the first true technicolor feature to be made in the UK. The story concerns a beautiful young Spanish gypsy woman (French actress Anna Bella) who flees to England where she falls in love with a Canadian horse trainer (Henry Fonda) against a back drop of the UK's premier horse race, The Derby.
The story is a bit unoriginal and the dialogue extremely clunky in places. There is also an element of tweeness to the depictions of gypsy life. Yet despite the so-so plot and (at times) wooden acting there is a certain charm in the film. The Technicolor photography is gorgeous and it provides a very rare colour record of what England & Ireland looked like prior to the second world war. The scenes on Epsom downs are also remarkably well filmed (considering the technical limitations of early technicolor filming on location) and the colour really brings an otherwise very average film to vivid life. There are one or two moments which would make the politically correct viewer squirm, such as the depiction of black & white minstrels.
If this film had been made in black & white i suspect it would have been long forgotten now, but as a curio it is a fascinating insight into another era. The photography is beautiful at times and make the film watchable. If only the same care had been taken with the script. Its a shame that this DVD only seems to be available in the U.S. though as i think it is calling out for a decent release.
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