Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Godless Girl (1929)

Someone once used the worst interminable to describe this film. "That seems a bit harsh," I thought, and sat down to watch Cecil B Demille's last silent film (although dialogue sequences appear to exist, according to Wikipedia).

I've now determined the word torturous to be more appropriate.

Lina Basquette plays Judy, an atheist girl bent on eradicating God from public consciousness; George Duryea (later to become actor Tom Keene) plays Bob, the religious boy bent on stopping her. Through a series of events, they both wind up in reform school...and learn to appreciate each other's views. That's the basic plot. In between, there is a lot of very bad acting on Basquette's part, and neverending scenes that slow the film to a crawl. Seriously, did we need that entire "frolicking in the woods" sequence? This film went on, and on, and ON. Only the very end was exciting, when shocking circumstances place the two leads in mortal danger.

Marie Prevost, as usual, was a bright spot in the whole mess. As Mame, Judy's best friend in the reformatory, she injects some badly needed spunk into some stagnant scenes. (Try saying that three times fast!)

If you are tied to a chair one rainy Sunday, this might be the picture for you. Otherwise, skip it. Preachy, slow, and way too long.

I give this one:


Lolita Kane said...

I didn't think DeMille could be bad! But I must admit, it didn't sound very interesting. Good review!

Kate said...

oh no, I just recorded this.. I don't know why, but I thought since it was pre-code it wouldn't be so preachy :(

Matthew Coniam said...

I think I've agreed with everything you've ever written... until now! Love De Mille; love this endlessly fascinating film!

Sarah said...

If there is one thing De Mille is known for--- it's length. Epic length. I loved Sign of the Cross though! But I am biased as I have a serious classic crush on Fredric March.