This French silent film has all the qualities of a successful movie production: action, adventure and romance in an historic setting with realistic sets and costumes, with well-known actors in the lead roles giving some of their best performances. And lucky for us, some of these gems made at the height of the silent era and which were believed lost, have been found and restored in recent years for a new generation to enjoy. Based on a popular novel of the mid-1800s and reminiscent of The Three Musketeers, "Captain Fracasse" has similar intriguing plots with exciting swordfights, scheming gypsies, a devious duke who kidnaps an innocent young actress, and a lonely baron who loves her and becomes an actor touring with an acting troupe just to be with her. Like most silent films of the late 1920s, this film is as smooth and sophisticated as any modern-day action/romance adventure, and keeps up a steady, exciting pace without the need for much dialogue or intertitles to read. It is helped along by two exceptional musical scores from which to choose: a brilliant piano score with melodies very well suited to the historic period for those who like things authentic and traditional, and an experimental modern score for the musically adventurous among us. This modern score is probably closest to jazz, but has an airy and even surreal feel about it, in particular due to the unusual use of vocals. It may take a little getting used to, but I began to appreciate this contemporary approach after a little while, and praise the producers for offering us two very distinct musical scores to choose from. Another bonus feature is a short biography of the main cast and crew, giving a little more background to this production. But all these things aside, "Captain Fracasse" lacks nothing, and can be compared to the best productions of The Three Musketeers and similar period pictures, as well as being another fine example of the best quality silent films being made worldwide just before sound arrived and changed cinema forever from 1930 onwards.
I found this film to be great fun. Fine acting, a nice pace with few dull parts, and the visuals are sumptuous. The contemporary jazz score isn't to my taste but the optional piano score compliments the film well. My only quibble is with Amazon.com- the title on the disc and case is Captain Fracasse, but they list it under it's French title Le Capitaine Fracasse. At first I though they didn't have it.