This towering cinematic achievement is easily one of the greatest examples of silent era hokum that I have ever experienced. Joseph Schildkraut and Norma Talmadge are star-crossed lovers in Northern Africa wearing very silly clothes. I am entranced.
Alla Nazimova takes on the role of Marguerite, the lady of camellias, a successful Parisian courtesan. She’s dying beautifully from tuberculosis but finds time to romance Rudolph Valentino in this modernized adaptation.
If you have to be known for only one movie, it may as well be a legendary one. Arthur Edmund Carewe is significant as the first Armenian-American movie star (real name: Hovsep Hovsepian) and as a fixture of classic horror, old dark house and mad scientist films. He made a lot of movies but The Phantom of the Opera remains his most famous role.
Let’s dust off a pre-Code mad scientist picture. And, as an added bonus, let’s choose one filmed in two strip Technicolor and directed by Michael Curtiz, of Robin Hood, Casablanca and Mildred Pierce fame. Even better, let’s choose one that has horror veteran Lionel Atwill and scream queen Fay Wray.