Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Overlooked Movies: Scaramouche (1923)

I'm not a silent movie buff, but I've seen a few, mostly comedies.  I watched this one because I'd read the novel and seen the Stewart Granger movie version recently.  I'm glad I took a look because it was worth the time.  The TCM print is a beauty, and the black and white photography is terrific.  When you see the cast of thousands, you know it's really a cast of thousands and not a bunch of CGI stand-ins.  The 18th century France photographed here is a lot more realistic than the one in the Granger movie, too.  There's also a rousing score.

I won't rehash too much of the story, but I'll say that this film version sticks much more closely to the book than the one Granger did.  Both have Andre Moreau joining a troupe of actors to escape political repercussions, and this one has the same "surprise" ending as the novel.  Both have Moreau (played here by Ramon Novarro) and The Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr (Lewis Stone) in a climactic duel, and this is one advantage the Grander movie has, as its sword fight is much more exciting.  Stone is very good (of whom I have fond memories as Judge Hardy), and so is Novarro, whom I'd never seen on screen before.  They do little, if any, of the exaggerated acting that's sometimes associated with silent movies, and neither does Alice Terry.

If you're in the mood for something a bit different, you can watch the whole movie on YouTube, or you can wait for it to come around again on TCM.  

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