Sunday, 7 March 2010

Her Sister from Paris (1925)

I think it's a good sign when you watch a comedy in the cinema and not only everyone laughs, but you also leave with your cheeks aching. It happened to me after watching "Her Sister from Paris" with Constance Talmadge and a very young Ronald Colman. It's farce where a plain wife pretends she is her sophisticated twin sister to recover her husband's affections. It's not entirely an original version of "Two-Faced Woman" because the twin sister actually exists.

From the opening scene, a fight between the two leads, till the end, there is not a dull moment. The pace is incredibly fast, the supporting cast exceptional. Talmadge in a double role shows impeccable comic timing and gift for comedy that I didn't suspect after seeing her in "Intolerance". The effects to show the twins together are actually very good, and the shots of the double when the two sisters share a scene are clever enough to hide the fact that it is a double and not the actress. Ronald Colman is stripped of all the weight of being an "Actor" that he acquired through the 1930s, and which is plainly in sight in "A Tale of Two Cities". Here he relaxes in front of the camera, and it shows. Great support comes from George K. Arthur as Colman's friend who works for the Embassy and takes care of monocles and the marmalade.

The copy shown at the Barbican was restored by the Library of Congress. Despite most of it being of very good quality, there were moments were the image nearly disappeared. I hope the source of the print is not the sole surviving copy. The film is about to be released on DVD through Kino in the US. It's a double bill with another Colman feature, "Her Night of Romance". I think sooner or later it will make way to my collection. But I hope they managed to mix and match prints to solve those problems.

1 comment:

Sally said...

This looks wonderful! I'll have to add it to my queue when it comes out on dvd.