Oh what an enjoyable grand scale melodrama - truly the kind of film that is never ever made again. Squeezed into an hour and 40 minutes are the fates of many, the crimes of the past and the consequences that sweep over the people like the wind of eternity. Remarkably, the film takes off very cheap and stuffy - everything is acted in front of the painted backdrop, the special effects - used with much eagerness - are worse than in a Melies movie of 45 years earlier, the dialog is unbelievably stilted, the actors of the first part (two little old ladies so sweet it makes your blood turn into syrup) have as if stepped out of a Victorian melodrama. It was so unintentionally funny that I giggled with great enthusiasm for some thirty minutes. But suddenly things began to change, especially regarding the acting and camera work: the latter part provides us with some unexpectedly lush images of the highest film noir quality. The acting gets troubled and powerful, the storyline quite intriguing and, yes, the camera gains wings and paints us some great portraits of people, who have become entangled in the web of crime and vice. Unfortunately, the leading characters - especially the young lady - are too good and cute to ever be taken seriously. The lady rides through the film with less effort at acting than I have ever witnessed before. Nevertheless, she stayed in the movies for some thirty successful years, until she herself was a dreadfully sweet little old lady.
If you enjoy an obscure melodrama that's twice as big as life, this is one of those films.
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