(Review originally written at 14 July 2007)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is not only a greatly made and constructed movie with a nice story, it's also visually a great one to watch, with lots of style in it and with some wonderful cinematography. The movie even features some early moving camera shots.

The train-crash in the beginning of the movie (which is a real classic in my book!) is brought really great to the screen, with some nice fast cuts to build up the tension. It's done in a way you normally wouldn't expect from a '20's movie. The movie features a couple of more sequences like this. Apparently this is the First ever movie that features 'rapid' editing in it, a technique pioneered by Abel Gance.

The movie doesn't use that many title cards and the movie mostly uses its images to speak for itself. It's perhaps also one of the reasons why the movie is much longer (depending on which version you're watching of course) than most others but it Works pleasant that the movie doesn't use that many title cards. It makes the movie a real visual orientated one and its, once again, fast editing makes sure that the movie never drags and no sequences ever become overlong, with of course still a couple of exceptions here and there.

The movie is made with lots of style and the directing is great. It features some great style filled sequences such as a couple of 'dream-like' sequences, point-of-view shots, use of shadows only and use of mirrors, among many other things.

The story itself is original, even today. It's basically a love-story but an unusual one, when both father and son (among others) fall for the same girl, who also happens to be the adopted daughter. It provides the movie with some nice typical (melodramatic) genre elements that all feel original and well conceived. Especially the way the father gets torn and confused by the love for the girl is done in a great way, although the whole part when the father tries to commit suicide gets perhaps stretched out a bit too much. The movie takes some nice dramatic twists that also add to the movie its originality. Abel Glance obviously also knew how to tell a story well! The last third of the movie is definitely the most powerful. Lots of dramatic events occur that work out really well. Also the ending is definitely one worth remembering!

The movie is obviously old fashioned and so it the acting. Totally unacceptable by todays standards of course but it adds all the more to the movie its nostalgic and classic feeling of the earliest days of cinema.

A must-see for every movie lover! Absolutely one of the greatest!


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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