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1. Charlie Chan at the Opera
$14.95
2. The Jazz Singer
$19.98 $13.99
3. Charlie Chan in Paris
$19.98 $12.98
4. Charlie Chan's Secret
$14.49 list($19.98)
5. The Jazz Singer
$14.45 list($29.98)
6. Don Juan
$4.99 list($9.98)
7. The Werewolf of London
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8. Dishonored
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9. Don Q, Son of Zorro
$79.99 list($14.98)
10. Shanghai Express
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11. The Painted Veil
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12. Days of Thrills and Laughter
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13. Man of the Forest

1. Charlie Chan at the Opera
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
list price: $19.98
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Asin: 6301798678
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1199
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid member of the Charlie Chan series
This is a terrific film that shows the quality of the Charlie Chan series. Set in a theatre showing an opera, Chinese private detective Chan and his son solve a baffling murder mystery with plenty of false leads.

The opera being performed was actually written for the film by Oscar Levant and the recording is still available today. One of the main suspects Karloff seems to have wondered in from a Universal horror film, but it does not detract from the overall quality of the film. It is great fun.

It is not possible today to watch Charlie Chan without seeing some racial undertones. It is worth noting that it is an Asian character who is mentally faster and far more polite than his counterparts that solves the mysteries. He never resorts to violence and is calm in all situations. Rather than being racist, perhaps the films were a slap in the face to those who considered whites to be superior. But it must be said some scenes do jar a bit.

The mystery is played fair. All the clues are there. So go and enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Karloff Used His Own Singing Voice
Warner Oland played Chan for the thirteenth time and Boris Karloff co-starred in this somewhat overrated film. Music credits were shared with two others by none other than Oscar Levant. Boris Karloff's role was that of an operatic baritone. He actually used his own singing voice. Lee Chan was again played by Keye Luke.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the finest in the series
Charlie Chan films are frequently accused of pandering to racial stereotypes. There is a certain truth to this, but Charlie Chan and company were neither more nor less stereotypical than such other popular series as the "Blondie" or "Dr. Kildare" series, and--while we may occasionally roll our eyes at a few 1930s sensibilities--its stereotypes are never mean-spirited and Charlie (along with his various sons) is always presented in a positive light.

CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA is certainly one of the finest--and some argue the single best--of the series for the film was not made as quickly or inexpensively as most in the series. OPERA is given the first class treatment, and producers even went so far as to have Oscar Levant write an opera ("Carnival") for use in the film. The film pits Warner Oland's Chan, played with typical drop-dead aplomb, against none other than Boris Karloff, who plays a mysterious patient escaped from an insane asylum and now haunting an opera house during a stellar performance. Keye Luke appears as Chan's "number one son" Lee, and the supporting cast also includes such notables as Netta Harrigan and the always welcome William Demarest. The story and script are slight, but every one concerned is clearly having a terrific time with the project, and the result is quite a bit of fun. Fans of the series will enjoy it, and it is a recommended introduction to Charlie Chan for newcomers as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Boris Karloff makes this the best of the Charlie Chan films
"Charlie Chan at the Opera" is one of the best films in the series starring Warner Oland as the great sleuth, with Keye Luke as his Number One Son. The reason is that the villain this time around is played by Boris Karloff, who plays the great operatic baritone Gravelle. Everyone thinks the singer died in a theater fire, but he survived and ended up as an amnesiac in a mental asylum. One day he sees a newspaper photo of his wife, the soprano Lilli Rochelle (Margaret Irving), and suddenly Gravelle remember that she and her lover, Enrico Barelli (Gregory Gaye), tried to murder him by locking him in his dressing room when they set the place on fire. When Lilli learns her life is in danger, she calls Charlie Chan to save her. During a performance of "Faust" the two lovers are stabbed to death on stage. Is Gravelle the murderer or does Chan have another suspect?

Seeing Karloff dressed up as Mephistopheles is a treat, but what I like best about "Charlie Chan at the Opera" is that the script, by W. Scott Darling and Charles S. Belden, actually makes good use of the opera "Faust." Oland and Luke continue to work well off of each other, but the scenes between Oland and Karloff have a nice spark. This 1937 film was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone, who directed three other films in the series. But this one is the best, even taking into account the inherent racism of these films. Ironically, the following year Karloff made the first of his movies as the other great Chinese detective of cinema James Lee Wong in "Mr. Wong, Detective."

4-0 out of 5 stars good mystery//great music
This Charlie Chan entry is 1st rate.The racial slurs might offend some people///remember it was made in the 30's//. The original operatic music was composed by Oscar Levant and it is quite good. Boris Karoff is an extra added attraction. The production is excellent and the supporting cast is in top form. This is an enjoyable 30's who done it..Sit back and enjoy this film ... Read more


2. The Jazz Singer
Director: Alan Crosland
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B00000K2XH
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 949
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Description

Of historical importance as the first talking picture, it's the story of a Cantor who would like his son to follow in his footsteps. But Jolson feels otherwise: he wants to be a jazz singer!A very early performance of Myrna Loy, with the classic line: "You ain't seen nothing yet!" Main songs: "Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye", "My Mammy", "Blue Skies", "My Gal Sal", and others. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Not "Just Entertainment": Still Food for Thought
It's simple to look at _The Jazz Singer_, released in 1927, and think that it's corny and quaint, interesting only for the historical fact of its being the first film to use synchronous sound--and to use it only slightly, at that. But the film still raises compelling and interesting questions about the pull for minorities towards assimilation. The film is shameless in its condemning of the father, the Cantor, whose gallant--if often heavy-handed--attempt to preserve religious tradition is overtly ridiculed as outdated and "old world" by the text of the film. Indeed, the film reflects a time in the United States when it wasn't appropriate to be proud to be yourself, to be of a minority faith--as if to suggest that to be truly American, one had to be Christian as well. (Even the Al Jolson character's love interest is unfeeling and cold when he struggles with his consience during the most holy days of the Jewish faith; she refers to him as "a Jazz Singer. . .singing to _his_ God," as if it were some God alien to herself and others.) This film still raises important issues about difference and society's general acceptance of difference. If anything, one's view of the Cantor is far more sympathetic now than it would have been then.

3-0 out of 5 stars Of Historical Interest Only
Rather than follow in his father's footsteps, a Jewish cantor's son runs away from home to become a jazz singer; many years later he returns to New York to star in a Broadway show and attempts a reconcilliation with his implacable father. Even 1927 audiences thought it was pretty silly--but no one ever went to see THE JAZZ SINGER because it was a great film. They went to see it because you could hear the actors talk.

Not that they do much talking. Al Jolson performs several of his popular numbers and there are occasional snatches of speech and dialogue, but for all pratical purposes THE JAZZ SINGER is a silent film. The cast, which includes Warner Oland (better known for his later appearances as Charlie Chan) plays very broadly, and the result is mildly entertaining. But the interest here is largely historical. Film historians, students, and buffs will be eager to see it--and rightly so--but I do not recommend it for the casual viewer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly moving film
What lady watching could keep a dry eye at the end when Jack Robin sings Mammy with his own mother proudly watching in the audience? Absolutely moving. The film was not the first part talkie to come outa Hollywood but it was the most successful. And the story rather closely parallels Jolson's real life family story. He was the son of a cantor, the two were originally from Lithuania and Jolson ran away from his dad when he was just a boy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but uneven
"The Jazz Singer" will forever be remembered as being the first Hollywood movie to make the transition from the silent era. However, if not for its label as the first talking picture, "The Jazz Singer" would have been long forgotten and would not have earned a place in the AFI's top 100 movies list.

The first 20 minutes or so of "The Jazz Singer" has 'classic status' written all over it. It is very good and if the remainder of the movie continued the same way, the film would merit at least 4 1/2 stars. However, the film soon dips down and never quite regains itself. It loses its direction, the dialogue continually becomes more amateurish and at times it's an effort to watch.

The story is of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young Jewish man who wants to break away from following his family's traditions and pursue a career as an entertainer, much to the disapproval of his father. Many will find the story to be cliched and over used. However, given the films age, this aspect can be overlooked. But either way, the film ultimately doesn't stand the test of time and must be watched from a historical viewpoint. Talking pictures had just started and this was uncharted territory. Some of the actors seem uncomfortable with the transition and it shows sometimes on screen.

That being said, "The Jazz Singer" is something that is only sought after by critics and movie buffs. It's worth a look but the average moviegoer will find it an ordeal to watch.

5-0 out of 5 stars There are many reasons to love Jolson's "The Jazz Singer"
This is an extraordinary film.

First, it is a great story of the dilemma faced by a son between following a path set by his family and culture, in contrast with pursuing his own career ambitions.

This is a story with great relevance today.

Second, it is the first "talking picture." As a piece of cinema history, it is a missing link between silent and talking pictures.

The Jazz Singer is conceived and photographed as a silent picture, and follows all silent picture conventions, but has several synchronized sound segments - with performances by the great Al Jolson - worked in.

The most memorable to me is the scene with Jolson talking to his mother, with Jolson sitting at the piano.

Third, Al Jolson was the most popular superstar of his day; he is compared in popularity to Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Bing Crosby combined at their peaks. In a world before radio, television, and sound pictures, the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway in NYC was built for Jolson and he filled it for years.

Finally, "The Jazz Singer" is an historical document looking at New York in the 1920's. That world is long long gone. The sets, the costumes, the types of the actors, all reflect a rich and interesting world that no longer exists.

Don't look at "The Jazz Singer" as some historical oddity or museum piece. As a piece of entertainment, culture and history, it is very powerful and riveting.

As far as I am concerned, it is highly recommended. ... Read more


3. Charlie Chan in Paris
Director: Hamilton MacFadden, Lewis Seiler
list price: $19.98
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Asin: 6301798244
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 818
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars We invite you to Le Cafe Singe Bleu
It's interesting how people can see the same movie and come away with different impressions of it. A reviewer below wrote: >>Unfortunately, CHARLIE CHAN IN PARIS is among them, with an early scene allowing one character to address Chan in pidgin English--and then requiring Chan to play into the joke. Modern viewers will likely find the scene distasteful; this aside, however, CHARLIE CHAN IN PARIS is a reasonably entertaining entry in the series<<< and I frankly find this a surprise. Chan makes a fool of Max Corday (the man who spoke to him in Pidgin English) by speaking in pidgin first, and then perfect English. Corday is embarrassed and humbled, as Chan intended. All officials in the French police force treat Chan with respect. Making the point that 'the educated masses' are not racist, only ignorant people are.

Having said that, Charlie Chan in Paris is one of my favorite Chans, not the least because it introduces Keye Luke and has one of my favorite actors, Erik Rhodes...

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the Better Chan Films
CHARLIE CHAN IN PARIS is one of the better entries in the Chan series. It is the tenth Charlie Chan film and the seventh in which Warner Oland plays the role of the venerable detective. It marks the first appearance of Keye Luke as Lee Chan, Charlie's number one son.

Philip MacDonald wrote the screenplay. Earl Derr Biggers, the author of the six Charlie Chan books, had died in 1933.

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but Slightly Patronizing
Although Charlie Chan films were no more nor less stereotypical in their presentation of the Inscrutable Chinese Detective than such series as Blondie were of the Crazy Blonde Housewife, some early Chan films did engage in a certain amount of regrettable patronization. Unfortunately, CHARLIE CHAN IN PARIS is among them, with an early scene allowing one character to address Chan in pidgin English--and then requiring Chan to play into the joke. Modern viewers will likely find the scene distasteful; this aside, however, CHARLIE CHAN IN PARIS is a reasonably entertaining entry in the series, starring the always welcome Warner Oland (the original Chan) and Keye Luke (the most enjoyable of Chan's tag-along sons) in a story concerning bond fraud in the city of light.

As the series evolved, writers became increasingly astute in their presentation of Chan, and while some characters might mock Chan, he inevitably shows them up by using their false impression of his intelligence to his own advantage. By the time Sidney Toler replaced Warner Oland (who died unexpectedly), moments of bad taste such as found in this particular film were exceedingly rare. While several of the best Chan films--such as AT THE OPERA, AT THE WAX MUSEUM, and CASTLE IN THE DESERT--are available on video, it is extremely regrettable that the vast majority of Chan films have never been released to the home audience; fans of the series should look for such films as AT TREASURE ISLAND and IN PANAMA on occasional cable television Chan film festivals.

4-0 out of 5 stars the series hits it stride..a must
the movie seems to be the unoffical start of the series as we love it...number one son debut helps ..it has sex//comedy// a good ending//a must see ... Read more


4. Charlie Chan's Secret
Director: Gordon Wiles
list price: $19.98
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Asin: 6301798686
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 2882
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars What is Charlie Chan's Secret?
The movie opens up with Charlie on a boat at see searching for Allen Colby's body. Allen is the recent heir to a fortune. Because he could not be found the family has been using his money.
In a last resort effort to contact Allen they hold a séance in a spooky old structure. Will Allen show?

This is one of Warner Oland's best.

3-0 out of 5 stars Keye Luke Is Sorely Missed
CHARLIE CHAN's SECRET is the first Chan film produced by 20th Century-Fox. Charlie is in San Francisco trying to find a missing heir who unfortunately is murdered after he reappears. The movie is hurt by the absence of Keye Luke leaving Warner Oland to solve the case without the usual blundering antics of his number one son.

4-0 out of 5 stars CHARLIE CHAN TO THE RESCUE...
This is an entertaining Charlie Chan mystery with Warren Oland in the lead role. It seems that seven years ago, Alan Colby, the heir to an immense fortune, disappeared while at sea. His body was never found. He suddenly reappears with a plausible explanation for his seeming disappearance, ready to claim his inheritance. No sooner does he return, however, he is murdered.

It appears that members of the Lowell family have been living off his inheritance for the past seven years, thinking Alan Colby dead. They have been using his fortune to fund psychic research. It is they who stand to lose the most from his return. They stand only to gain by his death. Or is the murderer the crooked family lawyer? Could it be the creepy family caretaker? Who killed Alan Colby? Watch the film and find out. If you are not a fan of Charlie Chan, deduct one star from my rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated Chan Mystery
This is one of the Chans that is somehow overlooked by critics as one of the best entries in the series. The mystery is incredibly complex, and Chan's solution to the mystery is both surprising and logical. This film also marks the last film where a Chan offspring was not featured. It is also a very spooky, including scenes with a seance taking place, similar to "Meeting At Midnight". Of course, Warner Oland is very good as usual. A noteworthy entry in the series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned but atmospheric
This episode of the Charlie Chan series from the thirties starring Warner Oland as Chan has a very atmospheric mood. And it is old-fashioned in a charming way. ... Read more


5. The Jazz Singer
Director: Alan Crosland
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6302120594
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5385
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Generally considered the first sound feature, this 1927 film is pretty much silent except for a few lines of dialogue and Al Jolson's songs. The story finds Jolson playing the son of a cantor who wants him to follow in his footsteps, but the singer prefers secular music. Except for its historical value, the film isn't all that interesting, though it is great to get a sense of why people considered Jolson to be a hugely exciting entertainer at the time. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Not "Just Entertainment": Still Food for Thought
It's simple to look at _The Jazz Singer_, released in 1927, and think that it's corny and quaint, interesting only for the historical fact of its being the first film to use synchronous sound--and to use it only slightly, at that. But the film still raises compelling and interesting questions about the pull for minorities towards assimilation. The film is shameless in its condemning of the father, the Cantor, whose gallant--if often heavy-handed--attempt to preserve religious tradition is overtly ridiculed as outdated and "old world" by the text of the film. Indeed, the film reflects a time in the United States when it wasn't appropriate to be proud to be yourself, to be of a minority faith--as if to suggest that to be truly American, one had to be Christian as well. (Even the Al Jolson character's love interest is unfeeling and cold when he struggles with his consience during the most holy days of the Jewish faith; she refers to him as "a Jazz Singer. . .singing to _his_ God," as if it were some God alien to herself and others.) This film still raises important issues about difference and society's general acceptance of difference. If anything, one's view of the Cantor is far more sympathetic now than it would have been then.

3-0 out of 5 stars Of Historical Interest Only
Rather than follow in his father's footsteps, a Jewish cantor's son runs away from home to become a jazz singer; many years later he returns to New York to star in a Broadway show and attempts a reconcilliation with his implacable father. Even 1927 audiences thought it was pretty silly--but no one ever went to see THE JAZZ SINGER because it was a great film. They went to see it because you could hear the actors talk.

Not that they do much talking. Al Jolson performs several of his popular numbers and there are occasional snatches of speech and dialogue, but for all pratical purposes THE JAZZ SINGER is a silent film. The cast, which includes Warner Oland (better known for his later appearances as Charlie Chan) plays very broadly, and the result is mildly entertaining. But the interest here is largely historical. Film historians, students, and buffs will be eager to see it--and rightly so--but I do not recommend it for the casual viewer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly moving film
What lady watching could keep a dry eye at the end when Jack Robin sings Mammy with his own mother proudly watching in the audience? Absolutely moving. The film was not the first part talkie to come outa Hollywood but it was the most successful. And the story rather closely parallels Jolson's real life family story. He was the son of a cantor, the two were originally from Lithuania and Jolson ran away from his dad when he was just a boy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but uneven
"The Jazz Singer" will forever be remembered as being the first Hollywood movie to make the transition from the silent era. However, if not for its label as the first talking picture, "The Jazz Singer" would have been long forgotten and would not have earned a place in the AFI's top 100 movies list.

The first 20 minutes or so of "The Jazz Singer" has 'classic status' written all over it. It is very good and if the remainder of the movie continued the same way, the film would merit at least 4 1/2 stars. However, the film soon dips down and never quite regains itself. It loses its direction, the dialogue continually becomes more amateurish and at times it's an effort to watch.

The story is of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young Jewish man who wants to break away from following his family's traditions and pursue a career as an entertainer, much to the disapproval of his father. Many will find the story to be cliched and over used. However, given the films age, this aspect can be overlooked. But either way, the film ultimately doesn't stand the test of time and must be watched from a historical viewpoint. Talking pictures had just started and this was uncharted territory. Some of the actors seem uncomfortable with the transition and it shows sometimes on screen.

That being said, "The Jazz Singer" is something that is only sought after by critics and movie buffs. It's worth a look but the average moviegoer will find it an ordeal to watch.

5-0 out of 5 stars There are many reasons to love Jolson's "The Jazz Singer"
This is an extraordinary film.

First, it is a great story of the dilemma faced by a son between following a path set by his family and culture, in contrast with pursuing his own career ambitions.

This is a story with great relevance today.

Second, it is the first "talking picture." As a piece of cinema history, it is a missing link between silent and talking pictures.

The Jazz Singer is conceived and photographed as a silent picture, and follows all silent picture conventions, but has several synchronized sound segments - with performances by the great Al Jolson - worked in.

The most memorable to me is the scene with Jolson talking to his mother, with Jolson sitting at the piano.

Third, Al Jolson was the most popular superstar of his day; he is compared in popularity to Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Bing Crosby combined at their peaks. In a world before radio, television, and sound pictures, the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway in NYC was built for Jolson and he filled it for years.

Finally, "The Jazz Singer" is an historical document looking at New York in the 1920's. That world is long long gone. The sets, the costumes, the types of the actors, all reflect a rich and interesting world that no longer exists.

Don't look at "The Jazz Singer" as some historical oddity or museum piece. As a piece of entertainment, culture and history, it is very powerful and riveting.

As far as I am concerned, it is highly recommended. ... Read more


6. Don Juan
Director: Alan Crosland
list price: $29.98
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Asin: 6302004500
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 39201
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Must-Have Classic!
Besides having two popular stars like John Barrymore and Mary Astor in a lavishly-costumed, entertaining and exciting adventure, this film also features this first 'perfectly matched orchestral accompaniment' recorded on Vitaphone. This was one of the first steps in 1926 towards synchronized sound with moving pictures which led to 'talkies' a few years later. The picture quality on ths tape is excellent and is in clear black & white, but at first hearing the original Vitaphone recording sounds a bit muffled; exactly like our parents' old phonograph records - which it is, after all. After a short while, however, I was too engrossed in the film to pay attention to the sound quality and only noticed how well the music and sounds matched the scenes and mood of the pictures.
John Barrymore suits and plays the part of Don Juan perfectly, showing a range of emotions as he moves from playboy to serious lover and hero, as well as engaging in a breath-taking sword fight that would rival the popular Fairbanks Swashbuckler films. "Don Juan" has the perfect balance of humor, drama, excitement and suspense to make it a video well worth while and one that will hopefully appear on DVD before too long as well!

5-0 out of 5 stars Two words: John Barrymore. Isn't that enough?
John Barrymore is perfect in the role of Don Juan de Marana, the notorious lover of all women who made a pact with his dying father that he would never let a woman into his heart. He matures into a clever and handsome young man who, with the help of his faithful sidekick Pedrillo, romances and seduces many women simultaneously- even to the point of having three women in his home who each have no clue that they are not alone with the great lover!

His reputation intrigues the fatally beautiful Lucrezia, a member of the villainous Borgia clan, and he accepts her invite to their upcoming gala. Between dodging Lucrezia and instantly seducing an attractive young maid, Don Juan's cold heart is melted by the mere sight of the pure Adriana della Varnese, portrayed by the gorgeous Mary Astor (roughly 20 years before her famous role in "The Maltese Falcon"). Adriana's father, Duke della Varnese, is an enemy of the Borgia and also a guest at the party. When Don Juan realizes that the Duke is about to drink a poisoned glass sent by Lucrezia, he gallantly saves the Duke's life as a gesture of ardour to Adriana. Lucrezia sees that Adriana is a threat and tries to rip away her rival's innocence by trying to marry her to the evil Count Donati, and by giving her to the even more evil alchemist Neri as a guinea pig for his fiendish experiments. Don Juan fights his feelings as long as he can, but ultimately stands up to each challenge with courage and intelligence. There is an excellent fight scene between Don Juan and Count Donati which ranges from swordplay to fists to exhaustion between the two men, and the scenes where Don Juan is imprisoned by the Borgia (and his escape) are amazing. Don Juan does save the girl and escape from the enemy, and the happy couple ride off into the sunset as of olden times...wait a minute, this was made during the olden times!

John Barrymore also plays Don Juan's father, Don Jose de Marana- a bitter man who had her wife's lover trapped behind a wall of their castle and swore off love forever. He also did all of his own stunts in the film. This will surprise those who don't like older movies with its timeless romance and unforgettable characters. A must-have for silent movie fans everywhere! ... Read more


7. The Werewolf of London
Director: Stuart Walker
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6302526159
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 28688
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Universal's first werewolf film falls in the shadow of the 1941 hit The Wolf Man. You might say it's a different animal, as this version carries none of the now-familiar trappings of the wolf-man legend: no wolfsbane, no silver bullets, no gypsy curse. Dr. Wilfrid Glendon (Henry Hull) is a London botanist whose search for a rare flower takes him to a "cursed" valley in Tibet where he's mauled in the moonlight by a wolflike creature. Back in London he meets the mysterious Dr. Yogami (a marvelously melancholy performance by Warner Oland), who explains they met once before "in Tibet... in the dark" before asking for a flower from his botanical find, the only antidote for his curse. Glendon scoffs at his stories of werewolves--until he transforms into a hirsute killer under the effect of the full moon. Although leaner and edgier than the famous 1941 Lon Chaney classic, The Werewolf of London stumbles with the corny Scotland Yard investigation of the murder spree and gets sidetracked in the bizarre bickering of two old drunken cronies. But it takes flight in wonderfully imaginative and eerie scenes and striking action sequences, while a Jekyll-and-Hyde dynamic turns a jealous squabble between Glendon and his young wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson) into the tragic twist of the curse: "The werewolf instinctively kills the thing it loves best." --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Treasure
In the first major Hollywood film that deals with werewolves,Henry Hull gives a splendid performance hindered only by the fact that he did not allow makeup arist Jack Pierce to apply a more elaborate facial makeup.(Pierce would would eventually create the makeup for Lon Chaney jr. in 'The Wolf Man').The opening scenes in the dead of night in the Tibetan mountains set the mood effectively for what follows.In Tibet Dr.Wilfred Glendon(Hull) is attacked by a snarling shadowy creature while in search of an elusive flower that blooms only at night.Upon his return to London Glendon meets the tormented yet sympathetic Dr.Yogami(Warner Oland) who states upon inquiry that they met once before in Tibet 'For a minute in the dark.'After this meeting the story picks up pace and London is beset by not one,but two werewolves.This film is well paced and atmospheric.Strong performances by Hull and Oland are marred by the hammy fopish Lester Matthews as a 'childhood sweetheart'of Hulls wife.This is incredulous as Matthews is clearly in his late 30s to early 40s playing against 17 year old Valerie Hobson as his childhood sweetheart(Where was David Manners when he was needed?).The production values,direction and literate script make this a very good but not great entry in MCA/Universal's Monster Collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent prequel
Man, I wishh I had every movie in the Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection. Check out the lists with those movies on it! If you think that's alot, here's this: The list is still missing some movies! Anyway, I like "The Wolf Man" better, but this film was excellent and definately a worthy prequel to The Wolf Man. How odd that Wales, Larry Talbot's home, is in Britian, just like London! Anyway, Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is bitten by a werewolf in Tibet. He returnes to London with a rare moon flower. A Dr. Yogami (Wanrer Onald)tries to help him, Glendon scoffs at the thought of himself becoming a wolf. Later, when the full moon rises, Glendon becomes a werewolf. You might say it is a different species of werewolf than the Wolf Man, since it lacks hair, but is much more sinister and intellegent. A forogtten classic, a must-see!

5-0 out of 5 stars Universal's first werewolf film is too often overlooked
Mention a werewolf, and you immediately think of the afflicted Larry Talbot played by Lon Chaney, Jr., in the classic monster films of the 1940s. Not only was Chaney not the first Wolf Man, he was not even Universal's first Wolf Man - that distinction goes to Henry Hull, who played a werewolf in Universal's 1935 classic Werewolf of London. This film, residing as it does in the shadows of Chaney's memorable werewolf films, is often overlooked; it is also unduly dismissed by some reviewers and horror fans. This is a much different type of movie than 1941's The Wolf Man, but it is really quite an enjoyable viewing experience.

Forget gypsies, wolf bane, pentagrams on the hands of victims, and the other werewolf staples Curt Siodmak put into his script of The Wolf Man. In Werewolf of London, botanist Wilfred Glendon (Hull) sees his troubles begin in - of all places - Tibet, where he traveled in search of a very special flower, the "Marifasa Lupina." This particular flower grows only in Tibet, and it blooms only in moonlight. He gets his flower, but he also gets a nasty bite from a werewolf for his troubles. Back home in London, he is hard at work trying to get the flower to bloom under artificial moonlight - apparently, it would make for some sort of major scientific discovery, but the flower takes on new meaning after a certain Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland) pays him a visit and expresses his own interest in the plant. Glendon doesn't believe Yogami's wild tales about werewolves - not until, that is, he turns into one that very night.

This isn't your ordinary werewolf. After his transformation, Glendon goes looking for a bloom of the flower (which, while not a cure for his affliction, would prevent him from killing those he loves the most) and then, before heading out into the streets, stops to put on his coat, hat, and scarf; he is relatively conscious of what he is doing, although he is powerless to stop the blood rage pumping through his veins. The actual transformations, several of which are shown in the film, are rather impressive for such an early film. He's not overly hairy, but there is a definite look of evil intelligence in his eyes.

Of course, you have to have a leading lady in this type of film, and that role is filled quite well by the lovely Valerie Hobson (1935 was quite a year for Hobson, as she played Dr. Frankenstein's wife in Bride of Frankenstein as well as a werewolf's wife here in Werewolf of London). Warner Oland gives a memorable performance as Yogami, but I must lavish special attention on three older ladies. Spring Byington is quite a hoot as Glendon's rich lush of an aunt, but Ethel Griffies and Zeffie Tilbury absolutely steal the show as Mrs. Whack and Mrs. Moncaster. These two ladies deliver a comic tour de force as inebriated best friends who take a great interest in Glendon when he comes asking to rent a room from one of them. Back in the old days, movie studios (or more likely, censors) didn't think audiences could withstand all of the frights and chills of a harmless monster movie like this without a few stiff doses of comedy thrown in to the mix - oftentimes, such comic relief failed miserably, but here it is spot on indeed.

Despite the fact that Glendon is as unsympathetic a character as you can find (the antithesis of Lon Chaney, Jr.'s Larry Talbot), I have to give this movie five stars. The plot has a level of complexity to it that adds to its impact, the makeup and special effects are quite impressive, and it has that unidentifiable something that a good horror movie has to have to succeed. Werewolf of London isn't as entertaining as Universal's Wolf Man films of the 1940s, but it is definitely worth watching.

4-0 out of 5 stars Before the American Werewolf in London...
...there was the "Werewolf of London," staring Henry Hull and Valerie Hobson, who is better known for her role as Elizabeth in "Bride of Frankenstein."

Although George Waggner's "The Wolf Man" seems to always steel all the credit as the definative classic werewolf film, "Werewolf of London" is an underrated jem and the origional werewolf film and a true classic. Although the plot is very "Frankenstein" like, it has a great cast, great looking werewolf for a first time ever, great atmosphere, great music, and great lighting.

All in all, though "The Wolf Man" gets all the credit, "Werewolf of London" is just as good and worth the watch.

4-0 out of 5 stars the werewolf of london
Living in Australia it has always been difficult to view the 'obscure classics' but in todays times it is only a click of your mouse button. I for one feel priveliged to have viewed this movie.The tension is from the start with the errie backdrop and the certainty of our poor hero's fate. The special effects of the time ensure the enjoyment of the viewer, that is to say we must rely on the actors ability to convince us of the horror and torment he is going through. The movie flows from scene to scene and by the time the credits roll you are still transfixed to the screen totally enthralled by what you have seen.If you are interested in the Universal classics this is definately one for your collection. You will not be disapointed. ... Read more


8. Dishonored
Director: Josef von Sternberg
list price: $14.98
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Asin: 6302888220
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Sales Rank: 25566
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mysterious Lady
To be honest, the only reason I got this film was for its star, Marlene Dietrich. I knew it was only her second american film, and her third for Josef Von Sternberg. To see her early in her career, before Hollywood really worked with her, is interesting.
As for story, there really isn't much to it, as it is basically a retelling of the Mata Hari story, Dietrich-style.
She begins as a 'lady of the evening', discovered by a member of the Austrian Secret Police during World War one. Plucked from the streets and turned into a secret agent, she completes a mission or two, then goes after a top spy for the Russians, whom Austria is fighting. He eludes her, but falls under her spell.
Later, they meet again, only he has the upper hand this time. She slips him some sleeping powder and vanishes with some vital enemy info, after a night of passion.
Due to the success of the information she stole, the Austrians win a big victory, and the Russian spy is captured. Seeing him in line, she volunteers to interrogate him herself. Taking him to the back, she acts careless, and lets him escape, committing the arch sin of treason for the man she has come to love.
The film's last section has her in detention, awaiting the firing squad, which she meets with calm dignified grace.
If it all sounds hokey, well, it is. But Dietrich's calm, measured diction and regal posing give a sense of fate and meaning to all her scenes, and the final firing-squad sequence was filmed in an airplane hangar, to catch the unique sound of echoing rifle shots, which earned the film an academy award for sound. Dietrtich's final close-up, just before the fateful shots, is glorious, and saves the film's ending from silliness.
Really, this film isn't the best of Dietrich's seven films for Von Sternberg, not even second best, but it still is something to behold, and worth having in your collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars the magnificent Marlene
Dietrich is a fascinating and riveting actress to watch. The way she moves, her voice, her sultry cat-like quality...and in this film her constant companion is a black cat, said to be "for luck".
The character is loosely based on Mata Hari, and she's asked to be a spy because they need "a woman who can deal with men", and she gets them all under her spell.

She also plays the piano. The music, and the way it's interpreted, is an essential part of the plot.
One of my favorite songs, "Anniversary Waltz", is the main theme, but "Moonlight Sonata" is also played, as well as a more modern piece that's a "code".
They wanted Gary Cooper to play the part of the Russian colonel (and how wonderful he would have been), but after "Morocco", he had no desire to work with von Sternberg again, so Victor McLaglen got to be her adversary and love interest.

Though there are moments of dumb plot and script, it's highly entertaining, beautifully photographed, and of course, has the mesmerizing Marlene.
The last scene is terrific. The look, the subtle smile...one of those unforgettable "great moments of film".

3-0 out of 5 stars MARLENE AS A SPY
DISHONORED is not a first-rate picture, but it is a fairly intelligent one, and, in its day, a semi-important one. The best thing that can be said for this story is that it presents a uniquely subtle sort of love, and presents it quietly. Concerining the story of a spy who, after many difficulties, finally manages to trick one of the enemy Secret Service, only to forfeit her own life by setting him free, writer/director von Sternberg wrote neither very well nor wisely. Most interesting is the camera work and sound montage of the film. The alliance of skillful director and one of the finest cameramen of the era, Lee Garmes, resulted in a movie always worth looking at. DISHONORED is an interesting antique flick which was written and directed by the legendary Josef von Sternberg. This film marked von Sternberg as an outstanding craftsman in the use of sound and in the use of lights and shadows. Although sound and speech had been employed by films for three or four years, there were few directors who made them more than adjunct to the films of which they really should have been an integral part. The most obvious use of sound in the film is that of making a piano almost one the protagonists. It is used to project the emotion of the person playing, usually the star, and in one sequence, it makes a transfer by which you understand that the code message, written in music, spells the death of the enemy, a sequence ending in the sound of war.

4-0 out of 5 stars a must-see for all Dietrich-fans
The third movie of the classic Dietrich-Sternberg pairing has everything for the fan. Rousing adventure,mystery and the legendary combination of sex and decadent elegance of miss Dietrich herself. Don't take the plot too seriously,it is rather silly but the cinematography is excellent ... Read more


9. Don Q, Son of Zorro
Director: Donald Crisp
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 630408336X
Catlog: Video
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Most sequels pale beside the originals. However, this follow-up toDouglas Fairbanks's surprise 1920 hit, The Mark of Zorro, is a welcome exception. Though again mining the Old California Robin Hood idea, it's better produced, it's better scripted, and it features the still-agile 42-year-old Fairbanks in not two, but three roles--playing Don Diego/Zorro as well as his own foppish son, Don Cesar de Vega. The big change here: Don Cesar's weapon of choice is the whip rather than the rapier. You can think of him as a forebear of the bullwhip-cracking Indiana Jones.

The setting shifts to Spain, where Don Cesar is falsely accused of murder. Tyranny's head again rears as our hero romances a very young Mary Astor and battles the series's most formidable foe yet, Donald Crisp's Don Sebastian.

With a more reasonable budget, Fairbanks was able to stage the fights and cliffhanger escapes that were beyond him the first time around. That's Warner Oland, the best of the Charlie Chans, as Archduke Paul and Jean Hersholt of Greed as DonFabrique Borusta. --Glenn Lovell ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel
While not as feverishly fun as The Mark of Zorro (1920), Don Q still showcases Douglas Fairbanks's talent for swashbuckling silliness. He plays Don Cesar son of Don Diego aka Zorro. (the Don Q reference in the title is rather obscure, I can't imagine why they just didn't leave it at Son of Zorro) Don Cesar is in Spain for his education and having a whale of a time showing off his skill with the whip, partying with a foreign prince and romancing the lovely Dolores played by a young Mary Astor who is probably best known for her fatal woman role opposite Bogart in the Maltese Falcon some fifteen years later.

Donald Crisp (who also directed) plays the chief bad guy Don Sebastian and rival for Dolores's hand in marriage. As it becomes more and more clear that Don Cesar will win her, Don Sebastian murders the foreign prince and frames Don Cesar.

The movie is a bit overlong and drags in spots but it is still quite good and makes a good double feature with the original Mark of Zorro. The grand finale featuring father and son (both played by Fairbnanks) is entertaining and Mary Astor makes a nice understated heroine who doesn't faint too much.

In the supporting cast is Lottie Pickford, sister of Mary Pickford, as Don Cesar's maid and spy. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were married at this time. Also, Charles Stevens plays Cesar's manservant. He was grandson of Geronimo whom Fairbanks put in almost all of his movies since he considered him lucky.

A final note, this movie, like The Mark of Zorro, is silent and the old fashioned methods of acting take a while to get used to but it is worth the effort.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Uneven "Don Q"
Douglas Fairbanks' 1925 sequel to "The Mark of Zorro" lacks the overall sense of fun and adventure that made the original a classic. There are some terrific setpieces, particularly the action-filled climax, yet Fairbanks tends to get bogged down in needless plot exposition. Running nearly two hours, the film is overlong and occasionally drags. "Don Q" remains an enjoyable Fairbanks vehicle, but some judicious editing would have helped. ... Read more


10. Shanghai Express
Director: Josef von Sternberg
list price: $14.98
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Asin: 6302888204
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 16539
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Josef von Sternberg gets really exotic here with Marlene Dietrich and the story of her adventures on a train en route to Shanghai, where she is reunited with a lover who jilted her (Clive Brook). When the train is overtaken by Chinese rebels, Brook is held hostage and the rebel leader (Warner Oland of Charlie Chan fame) takes a liking to Dietrich. The notorious adventurer fiendishly strikes a bargain to save Brook, whom she's never stopped loving. This is one of the most intriguing von Sternberg-Dietrich films not only because of its exotic style and setting but because of its passionate love story. --Bill Desowitz ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love and Adventure on a Romantic Train Ride
Paramount's SHANGHAI EXPRESS is an adventure story and above all a love story about Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) and Captain Harvey (Clive Brook) who used to be her lover. Most of the action takes place on a train which is held up by Chinese bandits.

SHANGHAI EXPRESS stands as one of the best of Marlene Dietrich's performances with Josef von Sternberg as director. What I also find especially intriguing about this classic gem are the appearances of Warner Oland and Anna May Wong in important supporting roles.

Although he is best remembered as Charlie Chan, the Swedish actor Warner Oland had in addition a distinguished film career playing a variety of heavies. He was Colonel von Hindau in DISHONORED with Marlene Dietrich in 1931. This movie was also directed by Josef von Sternberg.

Anna May Wong had an equally illustrious career. One early success before sound was her role as a Mongol slave in THE THIEF OF BAGDAD with Douglas Fairbanks in 1924.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Dietrich/Sternberg Collaboration.
A remarkable and mystically exotic story of love and destruction - the kind of film for which both star and director became legends. As "the White Flower of Chinese coast" Marlene speaks her most famous line in the film: "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily"! Dietrich, as always gave Von Sternberg the exact performance he envisioned while Clive Brook is pretty good as Captain Harvey, the object of Marlene's affection. Anna May Wong had probably her best Hollywood role as Hui Fei, the prostitute in search of redemption; she had been raped by insatiable rebel leader Oland. The story on which this movie is based is clearly drawn from Guy de Maupassant's classic short story of a French prostitute - "Boule de Suif". The photography of this film is in every respect excellent (Lee Garmes). Dietrich was dressed by Travis Banton for this and she looks truly ravishing throughout the movie (the film made 3 million dollars in the depressed year of 1932).

5-0 out of 5 stars FIne Sternberg fantasia
NOTE: VON STERNBERG WAS AMERICAN...

Sternberg's films make no sense to most movie fans, who skim a film for its story or for its stars or its "realism". Sternberg's stories are usually slow, the stories trite or perverse, his inattention to casting and acting can be almost shocking, and realism is nowhere to be found.

But his ultra-stylized mises en scene are unique, his feeling for exotic, poetic, and sensual visual effects is without equal. He is a visual stylist, more of a painter than a filmmaker, but on top of that he touches on subtle emotions rarely expressed in other films... Like very, very few other directors, Sternberg was truly a poet.

This film is probably the most famous of the Sternberg/Dietrich collaborations in the U.S. It shows both of them working at the top of their game...

1-0 out of 5 stars Yawn. Don't Bother.
This film is incredibly slow, and it has put me to sleep twice now. I can't understand all this ooing and ahing over it. 5 stars? Yawn. And I generally love (and tolerate) old films and find Marlene fascinating, but this one never really takes off. I'd rather see Blonde Venus again than sit through Shanghai Express. Clive Brook is a troll, and his performance is a waste of celluloid, a la David Niven or Cary Grant.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exotic Marlene in her most breathtaking role
"Shanghai Express", is one of those films that very aptly fits into the category of "they sure dont make them like this anymore". Boasting hauntingly beautiful camera work and photography, the film being very much a product of the glamourous 1930's treats its leading ladies face as if it was a rare icon throughout the films running time. These haunting images are the work of Joseph Von Sternberg, the genius who was responsible for creating so much of the mystic around Marlene Dietrich in classic roles like "Morocco", "Blonde Venus", and "The Scarlet Empress".

Exotica is the one word that constantly comes to mind when viewing "Shanghai Express". It's not so much the storyline (which in actual fact while entertaining is rather trite) that holds your attention so much as the ever more amazing series of "photographic images" that are made of Marlene Dietrich throughout the film wrapped up as she is in exotic furs, black feathers or shrouded in cigarette smoke or partial shadows. They truly are what Hollywood glamour at this time was all about and they were responsible for creating some unforgettable visual images of Dietrich that have gone down in Hollywood folklore. "Shanghai Express" tells the story of a disparate group of passengers on the express train travelling to Shanghai during the Chinese civil war. Along the way we get to findout abit more about each of the passengers before the train is hijacked by a warlord who is travelling on the train. Dietrich plays one of her most famous characters in Shanghai Lily, a lady of ill repute who makes the memorable statement that "it took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily". On board the train she encounters her great love from 5 years previous Capt. Donald Harvey (Clive Brook) a man who has never got over his great passion for her. Brook as other reviewers have mentioned is a strange choice as the romantic lead here as he is obviously too old for the role while still being a capable actor. Despite the lack of real chemistry between them they nevertheless work well and make the scenario of them rekindling their love and Shanghai Lily being willing to sacrifice herself to ensure Donald's safety when he is in the hands of the warlord that bit more believable. The film is peppered with other great performances. Anna May Wong plays the spunky partisan Hui Fei and since very little of her work is available for viewing these days her presence in "Shanghai Express" is a reat treat. She was a wonderfully gifted actress and here her presence is vital to the plot development which finds her being raped by Warlord Chang and then seeking her own revenge for the injustice done to her by fair means or foul. Warner Oland, famous as one of the actors to play Charlie Chan here plays the devious Henry Chang a man of mystery on the journey who turns out to be a vicious warlord who hijacks the train when one of his supporters is arrested. There has been criticism of a westerner playing the role of Chang however Oland is wonderful in the role and really gets his teeth into the character of the ruthless warlord. The memorable Louise Closser Hale, a veteran of so many 1930's melodramas scores here as the elderly busybody Mrs. Haggerty who's main concern is looking after her little dog and who strongly disapproves of everyone and everything on the train. Her bossy nature contrasts beautifully in her scenes with Warner Oland and she is definately a match for him in the bossy stakes. Eugene Pallette is also memorable in his usual gruff way playing Sam Salt the compulsive gambler on board who tries to continually place bets on anything that is occuring.

Working in collaboration with Joseph Von Sternberg Marlene Dietrich had a dream run at Paramount in the early 1930's. Her work with Von Sternberg is certainly what she is most remembered for but it's easy to forget that all the expertise at Paramount was responsible for creating the "Dietrich look". Camera work is the vital selling point in this film as I have mentioned creating so many unforgettable images of the Dietrich glamour. Costumes are also a stand out here as Marlene, dressed unforgettably by Travis Banton wears a series of exotic gowns that no other actress of this time, with the possible exception of Garbo could have worn. The overall look of the film is a beautiful feast for the eyes and the scenes of the Chinese markets, and the station were the passengers are held at are filled with atmosphere and are first rate in their execution.

A huge success on its release in 1932 "Shanghai Express" is still a movie treat and clearly illustrates how the mystic of Marlene Dietrich was born. She is perfect in the role, mesmerizing in actual fact, and is the main reason for enjoying repeated screenings of this classic. It is my favourite Dietrich film and really points out what Hollywood glamour was all about. Enjoy. ... Read more


11. The Painted Veil
Director: Richard Boleslawski
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6301972260
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Sales Rank: 10926
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Divine Garbo in a Complex Love Triangle in the Orient
I always feel approaching a Greta Garbo film to review it is like entering some Sacred Temple where one must show due respect and restraint.For the whole of the 1930's decade she along with Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer held the prime positions as the annointed Queens of MGM. Garbo however always seemed to have her own special niche in the pecking order and always had more popularity with European audiences than with the average American movie going public who flocked to Crawford's shop girl melodramas and Shearer's lady like portrayals in high society settings.

Fresh from her triumph in "Queen Christina", the previous year MGM legend Garbo tackled this modern dress romantic film which turned out to be her last modern themed film for quite some time. Indeed by this stage in her career Garbo was down to only making one film a year so her productions were always viewed as special events even when their stories might not have always been up to the quality of the rest of the production. "The Painted Veil", is a classic example of just this. While the story itself is fairly ordinary the same cannot be said for the lavish production with all its "A" list features, and the interesting central performance by Garbo. The story centres around an Austrian girl named Katrin who after the wedding of her only sister finds herself at a loose end and lonely for companionship. Still in the fallout from the wedding Katrin meets her father's assistant Dr. Walter Fane (Herbert Marshall), a sturdy but unexciting man who is immediately infatuated with Katrin and on a whim asks her to marry him before he returns to his position in Hong Kong. With nothing more inviting on the horizon Katrin agrees and after the wedding travels to China with Walter where she takes her place as one of the colonies bored wives who spend their days shopping and playing cards. Into this setup comes Jack Townsend (George Brent),who works for the British Embassy in Hong Kong and very quickly the two are involved in an affair. Walter discovers the truth and to punish Katrin decides to go into China's interior to help fight the cholera epidemic taking her with him in the belief that there at least no man can have her and she will be deprived of her one source of happiness. Because Jack refuses to give up his promising career which he would have to do to marry Katrin, she goes with Walter where in the midst of the crisis the two begin to see the real value in each other. As the crisis worsens Walter is nearly killed by a stab wound inflicted by an angry villager who's house Walter orders burnt to fight the epidemic. Katrin who has been tirelessly nursing the cholera sufferers then rallies to he husband's side and even the reappearance of Jack in the plague stricken area cannot tear her away from her real duty to her husband.

Based on a novel by none other than W. Somerset Maugham, the material at times is a bit thin but still makes compulsive viewing if only to see Garbo's sterling performance as the wayward woman torn between two very different men. Directed with gusto by veteran MGM director Richard Boleslawski he keeps the main action against which the story is set rolling on. As the two male leads Herbert Marshall and George Brent have their work cut out for them against Garbo but come across rather well in their very different characters. Marshall plays his usual upright character but here is injected with just an element of malice to make his playing a little less bland than usual. George Brent used to playing against powerful leading ladies like Bette Davis has just the right element of the cad in his character to breathe a bit of life into what could have been a cardboard character. Being a Garbo vehicle all the MGM expertise are evident on the screen from the superb lighting for all of Garbo's closeups courtesy of William Daniels, her stunning clothes by the legendary MGM designer Adrian, the interesting depiction of China in the last days of the Empire and the quite harrowing scenes of the cholera stricken villages all created within the confines of MGM studios.

I find Greta Garbo always a pleasure to watch on screen and she manages with her unique style to breath life into any story no matter how weak the material. Her absolute understanding of any character she is playing is always very evident and no more so than in "The Painted Veil". I enjoy the real feel of olden times China which is created in this story and find it a terrific romantic drama and to sit back and enjoy. It certainly shows one of MGM's crowning glories in a lavish production created around her where she is showcased to perfection. I recommend the exotic "The Painted Veil", to anyone interested to studying the great mystique of the legendary Greta Garbo.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not much of a film but one of Garbo's best performances
Made between "Queen Christina" and "Anna Karenina," I would argue that Greta Garbo gives an even better performance in "The Painted Veil." Katrin (Garbo) marries Dr. Walter Fane (Herbert Marshall) and goes with him to China where his practice keeps him busy and her alone. She meets Jack Townsend (George Brent), a diplomatic attaché, and has an affair with him. Fane finds out and gives Katrin an ultimatum: he is going into the interior to fight a cholera epidemic and she must go with him unless Townsend divorces his wife and marries her. Townsend refuses to give up his career and Katrin accompanies her husband. Eventually Fane changes his mind and gives her the opportunity to leave, but Katrin stays and becomes a tireless working administering to the cholera victims. But when Fane orders a district burned to prevent the spread of the disease he is stabbed by an angry Chinese. As Katrin learns what has happened to her husband, Townsend returns. This 1934 film, directed by Richard Boleslawski, does not have much of a story, even though the script is based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham, but this is one of Garbo's finest performances. I think this is because Katrin actually feels guilty because of what she has done. You can see in "The Painted Veil" why Garbo was such a great silent screen star. Her two best scenes have little to do with her voice, first, when she sits in terror at dinner with her husband, not knowing whether or not he has learned about her infidelity, and second, when she waits to be told if her husband has been killed or survive the thrust of the dagger.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic is a classic is a classic
Where else can you watch Garbo cheat on Herbert Marshall with George Brent...and during the interum meet up with Warner Oland (Charlie Chan) in a bar??? It definietly caught my attention. I would recommend if only for the aesthetics. Check out the bar..very KONTIKI...gotta buy this one..

4-0 out of 5 stars one of garbo's better films.
The film did badly when it was first released. After viewing it, i know the present audiences can't really rely on the history. Though the film was not Garbo's best,but it's one of the better ones.

3-0 out of 5 stars SOULFUL MELODRAMA
Set in the mysterious Orient, Garbo is cast as an unfaithful wife who eventually mends her ways........... she's magnificent throughout this rather weak story in one stunning scene after another (Garbo alone is worth the "price of admission"). Garbo just had finished her smash hit QUEEN CHRISTINA when she went into this rather mediocre Maugham tale. The rather melodramatic story, which was adapted for the screen by John Meehan, Salka Viertel and Edith Fitzgerald, seems to hark back to Garbo's silent films as she's torn between a worthy husband and a passionate lover; its plot is curiously similar to that of WILD ORCHIDS (1928) except that China replaces Java as the exotic locale. It was rumoured offscreen that Garbo and Brent had a briefly torrid little affair; however Garbo baulked when Brent insisted on marriage! ... Read more


12. Days of Thrills and Laughter
Director: Robert Youngson
list price: $29.98
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Asin: B00000F33Q
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 47740
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars I finally found it
I'm somewhat biased when it comes to this review. Channel 11 out of NY used to show this movie every Christmas around midnight as I was growing up. Haven't seen it in 20 years. Would love to get it. ... Read more


13. Man of the Forest
Director: John Waters (II)
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 6303427189
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 83449
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