The Constance Talmadge Double Feature: (Her Night of Romance / Her Sister From Paris)
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While elder sister Norma devoted herself to tear-stained romance and tragedy, Constance Talmadge carved out her own reputation in a series of bubbly, Lubitsch-flavored comedies. Often appearing as the virtuous vamp, (a mesmerizing beauty who could be naughty yet nice), Constance had looks and comic timing that are as modern today as they were eighty years ago. In HER NIGHT OF ROMANCE, an heiress traveling in England disguises herself to discourage fortune-hunters. She falls in love with a handsome nobleman (Ronald Colman) who is secretly impoverished. When they spend a night alone at his former estate, they are forced to pretend that they are married, a situation that threatens to unravel their storybook romance just as it is getting started. HER SISTER FROM PARIS allowed Talmadge to demonstrate her comic range in dual roles: a frumpy-but-faithful housewife and her sophisticated twin sister. When a hausfrau s husband (Colman) begins to lose interest in his wife, the arrival of her twin, a dancer and woman of the world, provides just the right impetus to reinvigorate their relationship. Talmadge was truly an icon of the silent screen. At the end of the era, she chose (without regret) to retire from motion pictures and enjoy her personal life, without ever having made a talkie.
HER NIGHT OF ROMANCE U.S. 1924 B&W 85 Min. 1.33:1 Directed by Sidney Franklin Produced by Joseph M. Schenck Screenplay by Hanns Kräly With Constance Talmadge, Ronald Colman, Jean Hersholt, Sidney Bracey, Albert Gran Music composed and performed by Bruce Loeb
HER SISTER FROM PARIS U.S. 1925 B&W 74 Min. 1.33:1 Directed by Sidney Franklin Produced by Joseph M. Schenck Screenplay by Hanns Kräly Based on the play by Ludwig Fulda With Constance Talmadge, Ronald Colman, George K. Arthur, Gertrude Claire Music composed and performed by Judith Rosenberg
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But Constance Talmadge was known as the blonde Talmadge, known for her work with D.W. Griffith especially for the 1916 film "Intolerance" and from 1914 through 1929, in her 15-year movie career, Constance had made over 80 silent films.
But unfortunately, many of her films are lost. Fortunately, KINO International has released "The Constance Talmadge Collection" (as well as "The Nora Talmadge Collection") containing her 1924 film "Her Night of Romance" and her 1925 film "Her Sister from Paris" which are her later silent films.
"Her Night of Romance" is a film about the Adams family. Samuel C. Adams (played by Albert Gran) is a multi-millionaire and his daughter Dorothy (played by Constance Talmadge) who are traveling to England to see a specialist for his daughter's heart trouble.
Dorothy knows that their arrival is going to be printed in newspapers and that all these men will be going after to her for her money, so she tries her best to look as unattractive on photos as possible.
While leaving from her ship, she accidentally trips and falls, but is caught by Paul Menford (played by Ronald Colman). Immediately the two are smitten with each other but what chances will they ever see each other again?
Meanwhile, we learn that Paul is actually a lord, but an impoverished British lord who is planning to sell his manor. Meanwhile, his agent is responsible for selling his estate and wanting to sell it to the rich Samuel Adams. And his agent tells Paul that if he can arrange for him to marry Samuel's daughter Dorothy, he will need to pay him 10% of all money he gets from Dorothy.
Of course, Paul who needs money is cool with that and as he is leaving, Samuel Adam's driver assistant needs to find a heart specialist (which Paul's uncle does for a living) but somehow, Paul is mistaken as the doctor and brought to the Adam's hotel. Immediately, Paul is sent to check out Dorothy's heart but he has no idea how to do such a thing. When he sees the patient, he finds out that Dorothy is the woman who tripped and caught. Immediately, the two are smitten with each other once again and both are happy to be at each other's company.
When Paul leaves the Adam's residence, he runs into his agent who thinks that Paul is preparing himself for marriage to Dorothy and thus, the agent comes up with plans for he and Paul to make money not only from selling the home but also marrying Dorothy.
We then see how the two begin to get closer and closer and enjoying each other's time with one another. Samuel Adams is actually happy because his daughter has never showed so much life and enthusiasm until she met the doctor.
But for Paul, he can't go on with this charade of playing a doctor. He has feelings for Dorothy, he doesn't want to marry her for money since he cares for her. So, he sends her a letter and does not intend to see her ever again.
With Dorothy quite distressed, she leaves the hotel and goes to the Menford Manor (she is unaware that Paul once owned the manor) that her father just bought. Meanwhile, after getting drunk, Paul is unaware that his property has been sold and sneaks into his old home.
The two see each other once again but to make things worse, everyone including Paul's friends and workers come to visit, especially Dorothy's father who are wondering why Paul and Dorothy are together alone at the manor. So, Paul makes up a story that the two are getting married and now the two must pretend that they are a married couple.
Can the two continue this charade? Will Paul and Dorothy find love and will the truth that the two are not married come out?
As for "Her Sister from Paris", the pairing brings us Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman as a couple once again but in this film, the two are playing characters that have a troubled marriage.
Both Joseph Weyringer (played by Ronald Colman) and wife Helen (played Constance Talmadge) are having serious problems in their relationship and no matter what Helen does as a wife, she feels that her husband doesn't appreciate her and the way he is behaving, it seems like he doesn't. Upset with how the two keep arguing, Helen tells Joseph that she will be staying with her mother and leaves.
His friend Robert (played by George K. Arthur) thinks it's hilarious that the two are not getting along and recommends to his buddy to have some fun while the two are away from each other. But when both men discover a photo of Helen's twin sister that they never knew about, both are shocked that Helen's twin aka "Madame La Perry" (also played by Constance Talmadge) who is a professional dancer living in Paris and will be performing in the US and where Helen looks like an ordinary housewife, Joseph points out that Helen's twin sister is quite beautiful. Both men decide to have some fun by watching La Perry perform live.
Meanwhile, Helen goes to see her sister (not her mother) to catch up on old times and tells her about her marital problems. La Perry thinks that her sister needs to get away from her old fashion style and the first thing she does is give Helen an identical haircut. The resemblance of both women are uncanny but the difference is La Perry has a birthmark on her bottom right cheek and thus to fool her staff, she has Helen wearing a fake birthmark. The two have fun in confusing their staff members.
While La Perry performs live in concert, Joseph and Robert are just in awe of how beautiful La Perry is and how talented she is. After the event is over, her sister is happy about how the audience have supported her sister but while she is chasing the flowers to pick them up for La Perry, the stage curtains open up and everyone claps and thinks Helen is La Perry and her sister and staff have a laugh that even the audience can't tell the difference. But when Helen looks up at the stage, she is shocked to see her husband and Robert over there and is upset that immediately after she left him, he is already having fun.
In the dressing room, Helen is reduced to tears that her husband seems to have no interested in her and is already having fun. In fact, immediately after the event, both Joseph and Robert secretly (behind each other's backs) try to invite Helen to a date afterwards. La Perry comes up with an idea. Why not teach her husband a lesson by Helen pretending to be La Perry and see how far she can go with the joke and see how much her husband loves her (or not love her).
Next thing you know, Helen dons her sister's clothing, wears the fake birthmark and immediately plays the part of her twin sister and goes to work on both Joseph and Robert who are attracted to her and thinking she is La Perry. But will Helen find out if her husband truly loves her or her twin sister?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Her Night of Romance" is presented in black and white (1:33:1). The print quality is good but not perfect. Considering that this film is nearly 90-years-old, the print shows some wear with scratches and dust along with interlacing. But for those who have watched silent films, this is something you see (unless the film has received major restoration which is expensive). The only thing you can hope for is that there are no signs of major degradation.
But there is a scene or two with major warping. About three quarters into the film, there are two scenes with major warping which lasts about 10 or more seconds each. They are short but this is the only time this happens.
For the most part, I'm quite happy by the fact that we are getting these films of Constance Talmadge and although the picture quality is not magnificent, "Her Night of Romance" holds up well for a film that was released back in 1924.
"Her Sister from Paris" is presented in black and white (1:33:1). Unlike "Her Night of Romance", "Her Sister from Paris" suffers from film degradation and major warping. There are a few times throughout the film where the warping and acid bubbles from the original Nitrate can be seen. Also, plenty of scratches and dust are present at times. But the film is watchable and it may not have as good as picture quality as "Her Night of Romance" but considering this film is over 85-years-old and a Constance Talmadge film that is not lost, the fact that KINO International has added it as a secondary film is wonderful.
As for film speed, film speed was very good. I didn't think the film was slow or too fast. Of course, there are scenes that look like it was missing a frame or two but overall, "Her Sister from Paris" on this DVD is probably the best we are going to see of this film for probably a long time.
AUDIO & INTERTITLES:
"Her Night of Romance" features music composed and performed by Bruce Loeb. The music matches the film quite well and music is clear and heard well through the center channel. I preferred to listen to the soundtrack via stereo on all channels but music is clear.
"Her Sister from Paris" features music composed and performed by Judith Rosenberg. The music works perfectly with the film and quite a lively piano score.
Intertitles are in English.
There are no special features included on this DVD but the two silent films.
I don't have many Constance Talmadge silent films in my collection, so I'm actually quite grateful to KINO International for releasing two DVD's for both Constance and Norma Talmadge.
Having enjoyed "Her Night of Romance" a lot and was definitely pleased by the pairing of both Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman, I was happy to see the two reunited for another film in "Her Sister from Paris". But in this film, Constance Talmadge plays dual roles and she literally steals the film. Her character of Helen is full of vibrancy, enthusiasm and energy and its just so enjoyable to see her transformation from boring housewife to a lively woman imitating her sister and fooling her own husband. Her charm and beauty are showcased in this film and once again, both Talmadge and Colman are a wonderful pair onscreen.
Of course, Ronald Colman had to play somewhat of the bad guy as you wonder if this man would have an affair with another woman (even if that other woman is his wife in disguise) and you wonder how far this man would go to be with his wife's sister and if he will feel any guilt for his philandering at all.
Although, I enjoyed "Her Night of Romance" much more in terms of storyline, "Her Sister from Paris" is still an enjoyable romantic comedy and a silent film that I am so happy that Kino International decided to include on this DVD. Of course, all is not perfect as the print has its share of problems but fortunately the whole film is watchable. The damaged sequences are short.
Overall, both "Her Night of Romance" and "Her Sister from Paris" are two awesome Constance Talmadge films and for people who are not familiar with Constance's silent films will definitely enjoy these two films that Kino International has released on DVD. Let's hope that there are more films to be released in the Constance Talmadge Collection. For silent film fans, this DVD is definitely recommended!
Along with other great silent classics such as "Eternal Love" and "Wild Orchids", director Sidney Franklin and screenwriter Hanns Kraly were also responsible for both movies on this DVD, making them similar in style and exceptionally good quality. "Her Sister from Paris" is notably different in story and characters however, giving both stars an opportunity to express their talents further: Constance playing dual roles as twin sisters, and Ronald Colman as the confused husband. With more exquisite set designs by Menzies, this time of high class Vienna, the couple split after another argument, just as her famous sister comes to visit from Paris. She soon shows her housewifely sister how to look and act beautiful, at the same time finding the perfect opportunity to help the couple get back together again. Believing he is taking out his stylish and beautiful sister-in-law, Colman plays the confused and then distressed husband perfectly, while Constance secretly hopes her deception will lead him back to his wife and their marriage. Both films are charming and delightfully entertaining, as well as being of a high standard in all respects. The musical accompaniment for both is traditional piano, always suited to the scenes, and although the picture quality is a perfectly clear black & white throughout, there are a few seconds of film damage in both movies. However, this should not detract from the beauty and enjoyment of both of these movies as they take us back in time to the mid 1920s when this type of light romantic comedy was very popular - and still is today.
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This film received rave reviews from critics for the comedy and fine performance by Constance Talmadge and Ronald Coleman.Read more