I unabashedly loved every madcap, bonkers second of this Russian-themed romance and I think everyone owes themselves at least one viewing. Is it authentic, accurate or logical in any way, shape or form? No, it is not. And that is why it is wonderful.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Tempest (1928)”
Tempest was one of many silent Hollywood romances set around the Russian Revolution. One of the most troubled productions of its day, the film had a revolving door for directors and leading ladies. The resulting film reveals none of the backstage chaos and is a blast to watch.
The main plot is the romance between John Barrymore and Camilla Horn but there is also a subplot which involves Barrymore being pursued by a Bolshevik recruiter (played by Boris De Fast, one of the few actual Russians in the cast and he bore a stunning resemblance to Alfred P. Neuman). Barrymore is contemptuous at first but a stint in solitary, compliments of an aristocrat, changes his tune.
Plus it gave him a chance to do a “I’m MAAAAAAAD!!!!!” scene. Oh how he loved his madman scenes.
Availability: Tempest has two high-quality editions available for purchase. The Kino edition has a 1970s era piano score by William P. Perry. I prefer the Image edition, which allows viewers to choose between the original orchestral Vitaphone score and a new piano score by Philip Carli. I love the Carli score (the Vitaphone music is a bit jaunty for modern ears) and it is the reason why I recommend the Image edition.
This is everything I love about John Barrymore in one convenient GIF.
Here is the formula:
1 part Don Juan
1/2 part Mr. Hyde
1 part Hamlet
2 parts Daffy Duck
The GIF is from Tempest, one of my favorite Barrymore vehicles. (You can read my review here) While not as zany as his performance in The Beloved Rogue, it still has just enough goofiness to keep things interesting. You can never accuse the man of being boring!
Louis Wolheim is one of my favorite silent character actors and he is hilarious in Tempest. This is his reaction when he sees that his best friend (John Barrymore) has found love– at the most inconvenient time possible.
Love this eye roll!
John Barrymore is a sergeant in the Russian army who dreams of winning an officer’s commission. But he hits a snag in the form of Camilla Horn, an imperious princess who seems to stumble him at every turn. Stripped of his rank, John goes a little mad and decides the Bolsheviks kind of have a point. The revolution is on, John is nuts, Camilla smolders and we have some grade-A entertainment.