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Sunday, December 22, 2013

John Barrymore Joins The Russian Revolution


A Tempest-Tossed Late (1928) Silent Epic

John Barrymore gone from Warners (temporarily) and tied to Joe Schenck and United Artists for lavish vehicles of which this may be a most engaging. JB was for many a romantic essence of great, as then defined, acting. There was always-appreciation for ironies, however, that kept Jack from weighing too heavy. You never know which way he'll jump in scenes others would play straight and serious. Tempest is Russian Revolution set. There is class conflict, and Barrymore is on the begging end. He's not good enough for haughty princess Camilla Horn, us knowing better, and eager for her to eat requisite crow. Jack gets a dose of dungeon life and hallucinates in keeping with Barrymore response to confinement (compare with his torture chamber stay in Don Juan or garret starving as Beau Brummell). Less flamboyance than customary for JB --- that prison portion keeps him out of fighting; were there budget concerns that limited action? Tempest still cost a million, way on a high side for the silent era, and brought back but $972K in domestic rentals. Don't know about foreign revenue, but it needed to be excellent for Tempest to have gotten out of a hole. Surprisingly run in HD on Amazon, Netflix, elsewhere, and looks fine for the uptick.

1 Comments:

Blogger VP81955 said...

"Tempest" was several years in the making, and one of the actresses Barrymore auditioned as a potential leading lady was a teenage Carole Lombard, according to biographer Larry Swindell in his Lombard bio "Screwball." Their meeting apparently occurred in late 1925 or early '26, shortly before the auto accident that caused Carole minor facial injuries and led Fox to cancel her contract; this would have been about eight years before she and Barrymore would reunite for her pivotal film, "Twentieth Century." The accident forced Lombard out of cinematic action for roughly a year before resurfacing at Mack Sennett, where her shapely figure and good legs were deemed of more importance than close-ups of a face that still bore slight scars from the car crash.

11:08 AM  

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