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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lillian Gish in Annie Laurie & The Enemy (1927)

Lillian Gish very rare ....

Collector to Collector
Annie Laurie (1927)
Lillian Gish ... Norman Kerry, Creighton Hale, Joseph Striker, Hobart Bosworth, Patricia Avery, Russell Simpson, Brandon Hurst, David Torrence ... Director: John S. Robertson ... Writers: Marian Ainslee (titles) ... Ruth Cummings (titles) ... Release Date: 11 May 1927 (USA) ... 90min

From a collector in the U.K. Almost pristine picture - yet occasionally movement of Camera ... there are the numbers at the bottom of the screen that indicate footage used and they change as the "kinescope" type project continues. They are there - noticeable, but does not detract from the image or story. Generic, public domain music added.

Following such prestige projects as La Boheme (1926) and The Scarlet Letter (1926), The Enemy (1927) was Lillian Gish's fifth and final film for MGM (it was completed after, but released before, THE WIND). Based on a play by Channing Pollock, this is a vehemently anti-war film, well-directed by Fred Niblo and expertly edited by Margaret Booth. Though it is difficult to tell where Niblo's direction ends and Booth's editing begins (or to what degree they were close collaborators), it must be stated that the fluid, eloquent visual language of the silent cinema is exemplified here -- as in so many other films of the late 1920s -- at its apogee. This film certainly must be counted among Booth's finest artistic work (for film editing is indeed an art) -- and her resumé is indeed impressive.

Lillian Gish ... Ralph Forbes, Ralph Emerson, Frank Currier, George Fawcett, Fritzi Ridgeway,
Hans Joby, Karl Dane, Polly Moran ... Director: Fred Niblo ... Writers: John Colton (titles) ... Willis Goldbeck (writer)
Release Date: 8 December 1927

Carl Behrend (Ralph Forbes), son of a wealthy businessman, marries Pauli Arndt (Lillian Gish), daughter of a pacifist professor. When World War I breaks out, Carl is drafted. Pauli and her family and friends are left behind to experience the suffering which befell civilians during the war. Her luck worsens when her father is dismissed from his professorship for teaching that war is evil. Her father argues violently with Carl's father, and degradation and despair descend on Pauli and her family as they await Carl's return from the front.

THE ENEMY would probably be regarded as a major silent film if the final reel could be found.

This is a Gish film, and she is stunning. At age 34 she easily passes as a twenty- something bride. As always, Gish is the consummate actress, going here from blushing bride to desperate mother to sorrowful prostitute ... After the success of THE BIG PARADE, MGM was anxious for another anti-war hit. This film was based on the 1925 hit Broadway play that starred Fay Bainter ... Supporting cast is quite good here with Frank Currier solid as the professor, Karl Dane as Jan, and Polly Moran as the brusque housekeeper. Joel McCrea appears as an extra. For those who persist in thinking that Gish only played frail virgins, this film is a real eye opener.

It is unfortunate that the last reel to this film is apparently lost. This will probably prevent the film from being screened on television or released to DVD -- which is unfortunate, since this is a work that deserves to be seen and appreciated as a fine example not only of late-silent movie-making, but also of the anti-war film.

Enhanced sharpness with generic music added. Good to average picture of a film that has NEVER been released.

PLEASE READ carefully ... For silent film collector's ~ especially Miss Gish fans who want to see TWO films that are actually RARE and may never be available to the public. The DVD is what it is and is honestly described .

$6.50 USA ship only!
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DVD in DVD/CD sleeve, photo label. Guaranteed, replaced with same title.

International - $7.99
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DVD in DVD/CD sleeve, photo label. Guaranteed, replaced with same title.