Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


STOLEN MOMENTS (1920). Director: James Vincent.
Jose Dalmarez (Rudolph Valentino) is a famous novelist who makes women fall in love with him and then treats them like trash. His latest victim is Vera (Marguerite Namara), whom he steals away from the man who loves her with a promise of marriage that he has no intention of keeping. He is also a complete rake down in South America with Inez (Aileen Savage), whose brother tries but fails to give the mountebank a well-deserved thrashing. Encountering the now-married Vera some time later back in the States, he tries to blackmail her over some love letters. What a creep! This is the three reel (out of six) shortened version of the film, all that survives, and it's both amusing and mildly entertaining, with interesting settings and locales. Namara, an opera singer, emotes as if she still thinks she's on the opera stage -- broad and mostly hammy. Valentino is much more natural, as usual, but he's not photographed particularly well.
Verdict: Hardly a great example of silent film art but not a bad melodrama on its own terms. **1/2.

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