Silent Movie Trivia #17: The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)

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The Winning of Barbara Worth is one of the high-quality epic westerns that were being produced in the 1920s. Director Henry King, always in his element with Americana, created an epic flood scene at the ending that still wows audiences. However, modern viewers will probably be most interested in Gary Cooper, who had previously played second fiddle to an acting dog, succeed to well in his very first major role. He is battling Ronald Colman for the heart of Vilma Banky. Poor girl. What a predicament.

(You can read my full-length review here.)

Availability: The Winning of Barbara Worth is available on DVD from Warner Archive. It was previously released as part of a high-end Gary Cooper box set but it also can be found for sale by its lonesome. Either version is very good.

Fun Size Review: The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)

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A western. Starring Vilma Banky and Ronald Colman. Only in the silents, eh? This is the story of how water was brought to the Imperial Valley and it also concerns the romance of Vilma’s Barbara. She just can’t decide between Ronald Colman and Gary Cooper. Poor lamb. I am sure a large section of the audience would kill for that plight. Well-produced but rather bloated. The climactic flood is justly famous.

If it were a desert it would be:

(via Pillssbury)
(via Pillssbury)

Lemon Curd Jumbo Pie Cupcakes. Very bright, very yellow, a bit overdone but generally a good thing.

You can read my full-length review here.

Recommended

Ronald Colman, engineer for a soulless corporation, Animated GIF

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Ronald Colman is rather quick to confess his character’s motivation to Vilma Banky in The Winning of Barbara Worth. The title card made me stop because it seemed so jarringly modern. (Colman’s corporation is ever worse than he knows– they are building a dam out of low-quality materials that are sure to collapse.)

This confession, however, does not stop Vilma from choosing Mr. Colman over a very, very, very young Gary Cooper.

(Shakes head) Vilma, Vilma, Vilma…

Fun Size Review: The Eagle (1925)

Valentino, the Great Slavic Lover!
Valentino, the Great Slavic Lover!

Valentino’s career was revitalized by going… Russian? Yep, this Robin Hood tale turned out to be an ideal vehicle for him. Valentino is heroic, romantic and surprisingly funny (he had an underused gift for comedy). Essentially a dress rehearsal for Son of the Sheik. Vilma Banky was a marvelous leading lady but the show was thoroughly stolen by Louise Dresser as a man-eating Catherine the Great. A film for anyone who thinks they don’t like Rudolph Valentino.

If it were a dessert it would be:

champagne-trufflesChampagne Truffles. Sparkling and sophisticated yet fun-loving.

Read my full-length review here.

Availability

The Eagle has been released on DVD by Image.

In the Vaults #11: The Night of Love (1927)

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The Night of Love (1927)

Status: Samuel Goldwyn donated a print of this film to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1956, it is the only known copy in existence. The film has been shown at festivals and special screenings but has never been released to the general public.

The film was praised for its original plot but it sounds fairly generic to me. Ronald Colman is a Spanish gypsy whose bride is abducted by a despotic duke. Wanting to exact vengeance, Colman steals the duke’s new bride, Vilma Banky. Three guesses as to how this one turns out.

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However, what the plot lacks in originality, it seems to more than make up for in beauty and enthusiasm. Director George Fitzmaurice is best remembered for directing Miss Banky and Rudolph Valentino in Son of the Sheik, which was pretty similar material.

The Night of Love (1927 film)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Motion Picture News liked what it saw:

There’s a fine costume love story on view in “The Night of Love,” which presents Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky again in the best film they’ve appeared since “The Dark Angel.” Marked with fine photography, gorgeous settings and compact and stirring action it is certain to move any spectator, no matter how hard-boiled, to remark: “Here’s a picture!” It has been staged with a lavish hand but its expenditure is perfectly in keeping with its story of rich adventure in old Spain. This is one instance where the background doesn’t run away with the plot. There are such tales as this — and a few have served as themes to attract light opera lovers. What is sauce for the stage is also sauce for the screen. What really matters is that it tells its story with- out making heavy footprints around Robin Hood’s barn and tells it with moving scenes and gripping suspense. There is a lecherous duke who kidnaps a gypsy’s bride on her wedding night. She kills herself to escape him, whereupon the rogue of the open road vows vengeance. He exacts it by stealing the duke’s newest spouse and winning her love. That ‘s all there is to it, but before the ending arrives the spectator is in for a display of rich scenes and much excitement.

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Photoplay was enthusiastic:

The Night of Love is full of beauty, emotional thrills, and good acting, and, praise be, it is a new story. Vilma Banky is ravishingly beautiful and Ronald Colman is the perfect gypsy hero. What a combination, those two. It’s a gypsy story of the seventeenth century, but do not let that stop you, for it grips you from the first foot of film until the last. It’s over all too soon. The tale is woven around the feudal right of the Duke of a Spanish province to hold all brides at his castle on their wedding day while the poor vassal groom gnashes his teeth in rage, and Montagu Love plays the Duke with such realism that you’re unhappy until the gypsy lover puts an end to his rascally life. George Fitzmaurice’s direction is exquisite. Don’t miss this.

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Here’s hoping that the film is made more widely available soon!

Recommended



The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) A Silent Film Review

Vilma Banky takes on the title role of this Western-set tale of settlers, dams, floods and legal shenanigans. Banky is the prettiest girl in Imperial county. Ronald Colman is the corporate raider from the east who falls for her. A very young Gary Cooper is the local boy who hopes to win her heart. So, just who does win Barbara Worth?
Continue reading “The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) A Silent Film Review”

Fun Size Review: The Son of the Sheik (1926)

Valentino’s swan song and it is a humdinger, let me tell you. Rudy is back as both father and son, Vilma Banky is the leading lady, Karl Dane supports and Montagu Love provides the villainy. Plot stays pretty much the same as the first: Boy loves girl, boy kidnaps girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again. Slicker, sleeker, smarter and more (intentionally) humorous than the first time around (though still not without its controversy). Showcases Valentino to perfection.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Son of the Sheik (1926)”