After losing his father, a playboy moves in with his miserly uncle, who seeks to cheat him out of his inheritance.After losing his father, a playboy moves in with his miserly uncle, who seeks to cheat him out of his inheritance.After losing his father, a playboy moves in with his miserly uncle, who seeks to cheat him out of his inheritance.
Objections have been sometimes raised to the liberties the screenwriter, June Mathis, took with Balzac's novel. A title card at the beginning of the picture tells the audience that "commercialization" has told the producers that it dislike costume pictures; evidently commercialism also told them that audiences don't like unhappy endings or unlikable leads, hence the sentimentalizing of the original story in which Charles Grandet and Eugenie are happily reunited at the end of the film. In the novel, Charles wastes Eugenie's gold and quickly forgets about her (making her gift seem more rash than romantic), and the conquering power does indeed turn out to be greed, not love as the movie would have it. If one is able to accept the movie on its own term (which of course can be difficult if you're familiar with the original source), Mathis's changes work well enough, however. Other complaints about the movie have involved the disorienting change of setting from Paris to the countryside--in the Paris scenes the people are dressed in modern (1920's) fashions, but the clothing and lifestyles of the country people has a very nineteenth century look to them. It is conceivable, however, that in the days before modern media had permeated everywhere fashions in isolated villages would change more slowly.
On the whole, this is one Valentino's stronger moviesit was a shame that irreconcilable professional and personal differences between Rex Ingram and Valentino led to the latter's departure from Metro shortly afterwards as there he was being offered the sort of quality scripts he would spent the rest of his short career trying to find.
- Aug 29, 2005