Enid Bennett and Jack Holt at the Top of Their Game
Jack Holt (Barton Masters, a rich ranch owner), Enid Bennett (Avice Bereton, a New York society girl), Donald MacDonald (Doctor Fortescue Van Fleet, a high society parasite), John P. Lockney (Keno Clark, a trusted friend of Barton Masters), Charles Spere (Avice's brother), Elinor Hancock (Avice's widowed mother, determined to hang on to her position as a leader in high society, despite her slender income), Irene Rich (society woman).
COMMENT: I'd never even heard of Jerome Storm until I purchased this DVD from Oldies. To my surprise, I see that Storm directed no fewer than 47 titles from 1918 through 1932. "A Desert Wooing" was one of six movies he directed in 1918. Storm also co-wrote (with Gerald Duffy) the 1921 feature, "Her Social Value", starring Katherine MacDonald (who also produced).
To judge from "A Desert Wooing", Storm was a very effective, very professional director indeed. In fact, I loved the film so much, I ran it three times. The pace is brisk, the story absorbing, the acting extremely natural. Both Holt and Bennett acquit themselves with credibility yet admirable charisma in the leads, while MacDonald plays a really nasty villain with equal believability. In fact, as written and acted, all the characters (except for the conventional "best friend" played at half steam by J.P. Lockney) are both fascinating yet credible. The director makes excellent use of real locations, and this too adds to the movie's appeal.
A poor black-and-white dupe of a dupe of a dupe of the Kodascope copy is available from Alpha. Just watchable, but Alpha have blessed the first half of the movie with a really wonderful music track.
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