Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1928. Feature Productions, Art Cinema Corporation. Screenplay by Gerrit J. Lloyd, from a story by Daniel Carson Goodman. Cinematography by G.W. Bitzer, Karl Struss. Produced by D.W. Griffith. Music by Hugo Riesenfeld. Production Design by Park French, William Cameron Menzies. Film Editing by James Smith.
Watching the oldest story in the book play out with such dramatic intensity is the result of having someone as talented as D.W. Griffith behind the camera. The man responsible for revolutionizing the use of the close-up in American films contributes a great deal of style and personality to this otherwise humdrum tale of a gold-digging gal (Phyllis Haver, who is terrific in a stock character type for her) who puts the moves on a wealthy businessman (Jean Hersholt), hoping to get cash out of him to set her and her dandy boyfriend up. Hersholt falls for it hook, line and sinker, totally flattered by the attention paid him by this young lady, and eventually abandons his wife and children for her. From there are some pretty interesting twists, like great trick shots of the abandoned wife walking the roof of her building or the chutzpah that the man’s daughter shows in trying to put her family back together again. I don’t even think the main plot was news when the film first came out, but it is interesting how captivating the whole thing is.