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Nigel De Brulier
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Cassius Lee (Douglas Fairbanks) is titled as an FFV. For non-Americans, this means First Families of Virginia. According to Wikipedia, the Lees were at the core of Virginian aristocracy for centuries. See more »
The first time that this German count saw the title of this Amerikan silent film he thought it was some sort of misprint. When he realized that was not case, he assumed he was dealing with a science fiction film but was amazed to find out otherwise and that the boldness of the title was meant to be taken literally, nightmarish though the thought is. Fortunately, during the film this German count's certainties were verified, proving that such hypothetical Amerikan aristocracy doesn't and never has existed.
And that is demonstrated right from the beginning. True the supposed Amerikan aristocracy do have similar habits to genuine old European aristocrats: they like to spend idle time in spas drinking a great deal of alcohol and looking down on the social climbers who dare to aspire to the upper echelon. However, there are two reasons why this supposed American aristocracy is not the genuine item; First, they made their fortunes thanks to bizarre inventions or selling common products like vulgar shopkeepers unlike European aristocrats who never exerted themselves and occupied their minds on the more pressing problem of how best to spend all their leisure time. Second, those Amerikan new rich have a lot of money and European aristocrats don't
Fortunately Herr Lloyd Ingraham, director of "American Aristocracy" (1916) depicted very well those big differences with the help of the always enjoyable presence of the great Amerikan actor, Herr Douglas Fairbanks who does a lot of acrobatics in this film, including racing a car, flying a hydroplane and solving a mystery involving modern filibusters (not Senators but American agitators hoping to ferment revolution overseas). Of course he steals the girl from his rival too. This early Fairbanks film shows the star doing the stunts and performing in the way that would make him one of the most important actors of the silent screen, playing good bad men, pirates and local heroes.
The film was written by the multi talented Dame Anita Loos, and is a funny, small and unpretentious production, correctly done and effective, a valuable early vehicle for Herr Fairbanks. Equally important, this estimable document proves that genuine aristocrats have never existed in Amerika.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must found an organization that defends rights of real aristocrats.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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