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LIVING, THROBBING, MELODY, POURING FROM THE SCREEN WITH BOUNDLESS MAGNIFICENCE-THE SUPREME ACHIEVEMENT OF MODERN MOTION PICTURE ART! (Print ad-The Evening Independent,((St. Petersburg, Fla.)) 18 May 1929) See more »
Today's idea of "cool" just did not apply in 1929. It's not at all like a modern movie. It has title screens and actors using overly broad gestures and overacting in a nearly comical manner. They also sing in an artificial stylized semi-operatic manner. It combines the style of a silent movie with a stage production of an operetta. It is obviously from another age, but it only takes a few minutes before you accept the strange style and simply relax and enjoy it. The available DVD was obviously made from a print that came from barely salvageable deteriorating celluloid. The video quality is terrible and the sound quality is merely bad. In spite of all these problems, the movie is worth watching over and over. The comic scenes are amusing. The bad editing and overdrawn acting is mildly amusing, too. The music is fabulous and you soon relax and begin to love wallowing in the corn. The plot? Think of it as "Zorro goes to Morocco" and it was probably at least some of the inspiration for Superman (hero with a secret identity who wears a red cape, etc.). The 1953 version is more easily available, but much of the music and plot was gutted to try to make it a bit more "cool" in 1950's terms. Unfortunately, the sacrifices removed much of what made the original production work musically and emotionally. I prefer the older version and just wish there was a better print available. If you have any interest in classic operetta, this is a "do not miss" film. If you have no feeling for such music, you would probably find this a complete waste of time (and earn my sympathy for your inability to appreciate it).
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