Beautiful, biracial Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between two brothers, one good and the other bad.Beautiful, biracial Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between two brothers, one good and the other bad.Beautiful, biracial Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between two brothers, one good and the other bad.
Hollywood epic filmed in the Southwest
This movie is like a painting by an old master that hangs in a museum--we may not be moved by it, but we can still appreciate the artistry. Its most notable feature is the director, King Vidor, master of silent film making. As you might expect, many of the important scenes have little or no dialog. In one scene between Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish, he rambles on about their life together, while she strains to get out of her sickbed and crosses slowly to him, the entire distance transfigured by the depth of her love for him. Gish was a great star of silent film, with a wonderful, expressive face, full of compassion and grace. In another scene that happens under quite different circumstances, Jennifer Jones crawls to Gregory Peck, the man she loves, also without words, evincing great sorrow and quiet dignity. In both cases, the women prove they are far more noble than the men who love them so badly. Jones also has a mobile face, together with a beautiful, resonant voice. No film that has these two ladies at its center should be missed. In addition, the film has two marvelous scenes that, at the time of its making, would have been just as impressive as some of today's special effects wonders: In the first, about 20 armed horsemen face a crowd of railway workers, including some chinese, clothed in authentic period dress, with a steam engine in the background. As the tensions mount, a troop of mounted cavalry, about 100 strong, ride onto the set, filmed on location (judging by the saguarros and ocatillos) in Arizona. This was a tour de force of filmmaking at a time when shooting on location was rare. In the second scene, a train under a full head of steam jumps the tracks and plows down an embankment. Filmed in early technicolor, this movie has lush exteriors and panoramas of rich desert color. Two more character actors should be mentioned, both of whom steal every scene they enter: Butterfly McQueen, the maid whose comments are both simple and profound, and Walter Huston, as the crusty sheriff who doubles as a preacher during a funeral.
- Apr 27, 2003
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