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Cecil B. DeMille
Charles de Rochefort,
Malena's apparent frigidity toward her husband Kenneth is a result of injustice done in an earlier incarnation when he was a knight and she was a gypsy headed for burning at the stake. This becomes evident when their unconscious minds travel back from a train wreck in the American plains to Elizabethan England.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A couple of players new to Cecil B. DeMille had the leads in The Road To Yesterday. Joseph Schildkraut would appear in other DeMille features, but Jetta Goudal would be in this one and only DeMille production.
It was a DeMille production in every sense of the word. DeMille had left Paramount to found his own studio which would not survive into the sound era. The team he had assembled at Paramount however went with him, you'll see many familiar names in the credits behind the camera.
Schildkraut and Goudal play a married couple, but they're having problems in the bedroom, she's rather frigid with him. He has to rape her in order to get a little of what the marriage vows promise. It all stems back from centuries ago when all the principal cast members who were reincarnated knew each other back in Elizabethan England.
In a flashback in Goudal's mind after she's injured in a train wreck she sees what went on. She was a fiery gypsy temptress then and Schildkraut was a knight in good standing with the Tudor Monarchy. I'll not reveal it except to say it was romantic hokum of the kind that DeMille grew up with in his Victorian childhood.
The train wreck was a marvelously staged piece of spectacle recalling to mind his other train wrecks in Union Pacific and The Greatest Show On Earth.
In his biography he says that he and Goudal did not get along at all during the production and that she sued him after the film was finished. It all came to nothing however.
It was great stuff in its day, but The Road To Yesterday doesn't really hold up for a modern audience. It's a curiosity though.
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