The characters' names are different on the surviving Dutch print. See more »
The Son Also Surprises
Slightly confusing British film, directed by Walter Summers. I saw a Dutch print with an English crawl. The problem is you never know how accurate the translation crawl is. Most of the characters' names didn't match those on IMDb, so it took me a while to figure out who was who. ANYWAY, after a long prologue of the unhappy marriage of Carrington (C. Aubrey Smith) and his unfaithful wife set against the Venice Carnival, we journey to Switzerland, where the now-separated Smith runs into an American lady (Lillian Hall-Davis) and they take a shine to one another. After an alpine accident they end up in a deserted snow hut together.
Flash forward 20 years! Smith is now a widower with a weakling son (Francis Lister), while Hall-Davis is a single woman with a son (Walter Sondes) who thinks his surname is Harding. He's in love with a girl (Nora Swinburne) but shies away from marrying her when he discovers that he is the bastard son of Carrington. WW I hits and both sons go off to war but only one comes back. It was unclear whether Smith's cowardly son was actually his own or whether he was also born out of wedlock to the unfaithful wife in Venice. That would mean that his weakling son was no relation to him at all. Oh, the irony!
This is the earliest film I've seen Smith in, and they age him for the main part of the film so he looks like he always did in talkies. Hall-Davis is also quite good as the American. This must have been a lavish film for its day with location shooting in Italy and Switzerland.
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