The Captive [Blu-ray]
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"Cecil B. DeMille s thought-to-be-lost 1915 silent film The Captive, is a found treasure. Set during the Balkan Wars, The Captive tells the story of Sonia (Blanche Sweet, The Woman in White), a young woman living in Montenegro and left to care for her younger brother Milos (Gerald Ward, The Warrens of Virginia) and the family farm when older brother Marko (Page Peters, Davy Crockett) goes off to battle. Unable to handle the day-to-day tasks following her brother s tragic death, help comes in the form of Mahmud Hassan (House Peters, Prisoners of the Storm) a captured Turk nobleman now a prisoner of war. Tasked with helping Sonia, their initial frosty relationship soon melts into love. As the war rages on Sonia, Mahmud and Milos will face near-insurmountable obstacles in their quest for a better life amidst the hell of war.
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille (The Ten Commandments, The Buccaneer) from a screenplay written by DeMille and Jeanie Macpherson (based on her play), the wartime romantic drama The Captive features supporting performances by Jeanie Macpherson (The Girl of the Golden West), Theodore Roberts (The Ten Commandments), William Elmer (The Devil and Miss Jones) and features a musical score newly composed by Lucy Duke."
Top customer reviews
On the plus side, I don't think I've ever seen a 1915 film look this good. For the age, the quality is staggering.
On the negative, despite Demille & Blanche Sweet this is a moderately boring melodrama. Boy eventually gets girl, because he is stripped of his aristocratic title. Why boy wants girl after she treats him poorly as a prisoner of war is uncertain.
Only worthwhile If you want to see one of the best prints ever of a 1915 film or if you collect Demille; in which case it would be a must own.
5 Stars for the restoration, 2 stars for the film.
The DeMIlle family took very good care of his movies depositing several prints at the George Eastman House. Thanks to their efforts most of his early films have not only survived but look terrific. The print is easily the best one of this vintage that I have ever seen surpassing the same year's CARMEN. However what was even more remarkable to me is the relevancy of the storyline in today's political climate something that DeMille and co-writer Jeanie MacPherson (who appears briefly in the cabbage scene) obviously couldn't have foreseen. Set in 1913 during the Balkan Wars, the story concerns a Turkish prisoner who is sent to do manual labor for a young Montenegro woman whose brother is killed at the front. After a rough beginning, they start to get along when the Turks invade her village, threaten her, and expect him to join them. How captors and captives are treated changes throughout the film. In the end there are refugees.
The beauty of the silent film is that since it's driven by visuals, anyone can be anything. Blanche Sweet is an ideal peasant woman while House Peters (a silent matinee idol who was born in England) is believable as the Turkish captive of the title. The performances are remarkably restrained and make the story quite believable. Even this early in the game DeMille had a great pictorial sense of where to place his camera and how to stage his scenes. The film would have looked great then and it really looks great now thanks to this stunning transfer. It sounds great as well thanks to Lucy Duke's idiomatic original score. A must for fans of early cinema and a real eye opener for those who only know DeMille by his later movies. This is the third Olive Films release of a silent title after 1914's THE UNDESIRABLE and the recently released WAGON TRACKS with William S. Hart. Hopefully there will be many more.