TWO SILENTS, SHORT TAKES

Lady Windermere’s Fan
Ernst Lubitsch
1925

                                    DOORS FOR LUBITSCH

The film features enormous sets.  What doors Lubitsch had at his disposal here!  But he seldom uses them this time.  Mary Pickford might have  had to change her mind.  She said she thought of him as a director of doors.

Irene Rich is superb:  poise, elegance, presence, subtlety.  She also is splendid to look at despite some clumsy costumes.  As the would-be seducer Ronald Colman is outrageous.

The famous Lubitsch touch is evident.  He takes time for characters to think and reflect.  He gives us meaningful close-ups of hands.  Heads enter the frame and leave the frame.

This Lady Windermere’s Fan is a melodrama, not Oscar Wilde’s comedy.

The Duchess of Buffalo
Sidney Franklin
1926

                                               EARLY MENZIES

The film is, of course, stunning to look at with William Cameron Menzies as production designer (and Oliver Marsh as photographer).  With arches as a decorative motif the sets and costumes are almost too grand for a silly romantic comedy.  Constance Tallmadge here is something of a face maker; but she is charming and spirited in a not very consistently written role.  Edward Martindel stands out as the Grand Duke.

The Duchess of Buffalo is a good example of much of Hollywood’s 20s: looking like a million and offering not very much to hold onto.

NEXT POST Friday December 14

Silently,
Rick

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