Friday, November 11, 2011

The Goose Woman: Clarence Brown (LFF 13.10.2011)

Louise Dresser is the lead in this 1925 melodrama, playing an opera singer who has lost her voice and who now lives in semi-poverty in the countryside. A murder in the next farmstead gives her the idea of reviving her fame by claiming to have seen the killer. she is cleaned up and feted by the local DA and wooed by the press though the local sheriff has his doubts. A subplot deals with the romance between her son and a girl. Finally, she admits to her deceit and all ends well. Straightforwardly filmed, this is a tour de force by the lead who is ably supported by the other players.
The film was preceded by two Vitaphone shorts which remind one how much popular entertainment has changed over the years as neither feature would see daylight now even though those poerforming had long and successful vaudeville careers.
One must applaud the work of all those involved in restoring old films where the choice of what is restored is often one of
dealing with what is available regardless of overall merit. The shorts have some historical interest while the main film is worth the efforts taken to preserve the fine lead performance.

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