Tol'able David 1921

Amazon Instant Video

(10) IMDb 8.2/10

Tol'able David is a magnificent film, carefully transferred from the best available elements, and starring the great Richard Barthelmess (Broken Blossoms) in the title role. This silent classic chronicles David's passage into adulthood as he confronts three crooks looking for trouble. A delightful gem from film's early years.

Starring:
Richard Barthelmess, Gladys Hulette
Runtime:
1 hour, 50 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Tol'able David

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Henry King
Starring Richard Barthelmess, Gladys Hulette
Supporting actors Walter P. Lewis, Ernest Torrence, Ralph Yearsley, Forrest Robinson, Laurence Eddinger, Edmund Gurney, Warner Richmond, Marion Abbott, Patterson Dial, Henry Hallam, Lassie
Studio Egami Media
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
The family which now faces poverty.
Captain Spanky
In making the film, the characterizations and plot were designed in such a way that they are familiar but also unique.
Colin Paterson
Tol'able David is one of the finest silent films which I have seen.
Mr Peter G George

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Colin Paterson on March 12, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Watching this film is an amazing experience -- something like a great mixture of looking through the personal scrapbook of someone from a bygone era, hearing a wonderful legend retold, and feeling your own visceral emotions fired with electricity.
In making the film, the characterizations and plot were designed in such a way that they are familiar but also unique. The story defies some of what have come to be conventions (stereotypes) for supporting roles. And, it betrays what have always been simpler expectations for a story with a happy ending. While there is sorrow and loss in modern film and earlier film, here they are portrayed without the often contingent silver-linings. Bad things happen in this film...and we are not given the immediate sense that all will be right in the end.
The title role is filled admirably by Richard Barthelmess. He did fine work here -- no wonder it led to his making as a star. But for me, the film was made by the principal heavy -- played by Ernest Torrence. What a creep he managed to portray -- a villain with a completely perverted moral sense. And Torrence held nothing back in his postures and expressions. He had this character nailed. A stunning performance.
Director Henry King did marvelous work with this villain and all of the film's elements. Portraying an idyllic rural atmosphere which is soon troubled by the arrival of lawlessness (Torrence and two other actors who play the nefarious Hatburn family), he demonstrates an ability to frame a scene with great visual appeal. He also manages to be economical in a sense -- one camera angle captures the majority of a scene's action and this is supplemented by occasional close-up reaction shots. His camera positioning is expert in this.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr Peter G George on February 22, 2001
Format: DVD
Tol'able David is one of the finest silent films which I have seen. It seems more realistic than many silents. This is partly because of the location shooting, partly because the story is neither overly melodramatic nor comic. Barthelmess as the David character gives a wonderful performance while Torrance as the Goliath character is only just a little over the top in his villainy. He was perhaps more suited to the comic monster type of his later Captain Hook. The real revelation though, is Hulette. She is almost completely forgotten now, but clearly had great talent. Her performance is realistic and charming. She is quite simply adorable. The print on this DVD has been formed from separate sources. Thus it looks slightly different from scene to scene. There is some damage, but it rarely detracts. It is however, slightly distracting to see variations in the tinting. It is inconsistent to have one green scene when the rest of the movie uses greys and browns. One of the best features of this DVD is the music, which is a series of wonderful folksy tunes which fit in so well with the action that even David's harmonica playing is included. As an added bonus the DVD includes an interesting interview with director Henry King and some useful, extensive sleeve notes. Tol'able David is not as well known as many silent films, but really it ought to be considered as among the very best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on May 19, 2000
Format: DVD
Widely considered one of the finest early U.S. action films. Under Harry King's stellar direction, it quickly and quietly becomes a mesmorizing film; it's like watching an antique photo album/scrapbook come to life! David's older brother is killed by the notorious Hatburns, and ironically, the girl he loves is one herself! As the honest, non-violent postal worker, David shows everyone he's no coward, and everything comes out in the wash at the end. I just watched this little flick at the home of my video store-owner friend and I was impressed by this essentially timeless slice of rural Americana which was directed by Henry King (long considered his masterwork). The film contains one of the greatest fight scenes recorded on film, and it's nothing short of revelation watching Torrence as Luke Hatburn, who delivers perhaps the greatest interpretation of villainy in the history of the cinema!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mritchie@g3inc.com on July 9, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
It may be of interest to film history buffs to know that much of the scenery and buildings in this film still exist today in rural Highland County, VA where the film was shot.
It is a credit to the director that he brought a cast and crew so far into the wilderness and captured an authentic backdrop for an accurate depiction of pre-automobile America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 19, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Tol'able David is a very unique movie from the 1920s that was the most popular movie of 1921 according to PhotoPlay Magazine. It was one of the very first movies to be filmed on location. I am looking forward to an eventual trip to go see where this was filmed in Virginia.

Tol'able David is a coming of age story from the silent era set in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky. David's goal in life is to drive the mail and passenger wagon into town just like his older brother. This is in addition to his love for a certain young lady. The story is entertaining, and the acting job that Richard Barthelmess turns is really good -- just be ready for some typical silent-era acting.

The DVD's quality is quite good. There are still a significant number of scratches, but nothing that makes the movie unwatchable. In fact, this is one of the better quality DVDs I have seen of movies from the era. I recommend this movie and the Image DVD.
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