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Saturday, May 24, 2008

LORNA DOONE (1922)

I had only seen one Maurice Tourneur film that lived up to his rep (ALIAS JIMMY VALENTINE/1917) & now I’ve found another. This superbly handsome version of the old chestnut (is it still read?) is masterful filmmaking. The Doone brigands kidnap Lorna & murder her mother in a sharp prologue; years later a grown Lorna is rescued by her farmboy sweetheart only to give him up to claim her true inheritance. Love bests riches, but a jealous ex sets up Lorna to die on her wedding day which in turn leads to the Doones’ doom. (There’s a happy ending, but I doubt it’s in the novel. Does anyone know?) With so much going for it, especially Tourneur’s thrilling use of space & "volume" in his compositions, the sub-par leads are disappointing, though their childhood counterparts are quite good. Sub-par new score, too.

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