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Top Customer Reviews
John Barrymore suits and plays the part of Don Juan perfectly, showing a range of emotions as he moves from playboy to serious lover and hero, as well as engaging in a breath-taking sword fight that would rival the popular Fairbanks Swashbuckler films. "Don Juan" has the perfect balance of humor, drama, excitement and suspense to make it a video well worth while and one that will hopefully appear on DVD before too long as well!
John Barrymore (1882-1942) was one of the greatest theatrical performers of the 20th century, but many of his screen performances are not nearly as powerful, and this is particularly true of his work in the talkies. In films like "Romeo and Juliette" (1936) and "Twentieth Century" (1934), which were essentially filmed plays, we get to see what theater goers saw, but in more dynamic vehicles like "Rasputin and the Empress" (1932) and "Dinner at Eight" (1933), much of Barrymore's charm and charisma are missing. But here in this silent film his skills are fully in view.
FWIW - Barrymore set the world's record by slapping 191 kisses on various women during this film.
A very young Mary Astor (1906-1987) plays the innocent girl who attracts Barrymore's attention. Astor is best remembered as Mrs. O'Shaughnessy from "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), although she won the Oscar for her role in "The Great Lie" which appeared the same year and is now mostly forgotten. Astor made more than 100 films from 1921 to 1964 ("Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte") and was a major star in the silent era. Astor does her usual good job.
Myrna Loy (1905-93) plays an aide to Borgia. She started in silent films in the mid 20s, appearing as an uncredited slave girl in "Ben Hur" (1925) and then appeared in more than 50 silent films before transitioning to sound.Read more ›
His reputation intrigues the fatally beautiful Lucrezia, a member of the villainous Borgia clan, and he accepts her invite to their upcoming gala. Between dodging Lucrezia and instantly seducing an attractive young maid, Don Juan's cold heart is melted by the mere sight of the pure Adriana della Varnese, portrayed by the gorgeous Mary Astor (roughly 20 years before her famous role in "The Maltese Falcon"). Adriana's father, Duke della Varnese, is an enemy of the Borgia and also a guest at the party. When Don Juan realizes that the Duke is about to drink a poisoned glass sent by Lucrezia, he gallantly saves the Duke's life as a gesture of ardour to Adriana. Lucrezia sees that Adriana is a threat and tries to rip away her rival's innocence by trying to marry her to the evil Count Donati, and by giving her to the even more evil alchemist Neri as a guinea pig for his fiendish experiments. Don Juan fights his feelings as long as he can, but ultimately stands up to each challenge with courage and intelligence. There is an excellent fight scene between Don Juan and Count Donati which ranges from swordplay to fists to exhaustion between the two men, and the scenes where Don Juan is imprisoned by the Borgia (and his escape) are amazing.Read more ›
This disc does contain special features. Along with the film, the premiere audience was treated to a series of short films, including a performance of Wagner by the NY Philharmonic. The audio tracks for these shorts are not restored, but are well-presented. As is customary with all Warner Archive Discs, no restoration is done to the film. That being said, it's a good transfer and holds up well despite its age. It's an interesting study of how 1927 dealt with mysogynists, really. But I'll spare you the film class evaluation and simply say, it's worth seeing over and over.
In fact, fans of Barrymore will recognize his facial contortions from his much earlier Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. As I watched this film for the first time, it was a singular treat to watch his face transform in front of the camera in a way it didn't really do in Dr. Jekyll.
A must-have for any collector of classic film, silent or otherwise. Thanks to the Warner Archive for making this available.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this movie from amazon.com and it didn't even work so I was very disappointed. Unfortunately, by the time I tried to watch it, the return window had already closed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Silent John Barrymore classic. Worth watching "the great profile" at his best as the romacing, carefree central characters. Wellstaged and good sets throughout.Published 16 months ago by George
Seemed to lack some of the scenes I saw on the TMC presentation especially in the opening portion of the filml.Published on April 30, 2014 by Robert G. Carroon
Not anywhere near DVD quality. The transfer was about the same quality as VHS tape. It is on par with YouTube videos, just fair. The movie itself was not bad for an old silent. Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by Joe Seda
Warner Brothers' THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) holds the honor as the film that revolutionized the cinema with sound giving birth to the "talkies". Read morePublished on July 20, 2013 by Casey62
The first film version of "Don Juan" is very good. John Barrymore plays the title character. Though NOT the first sound film, it did pave the way for "The Jazz Singer" and the rest... Read morePublished on January 3, 2011 by HAMLET
As a modern-day technology teacher, I was amused to see the response I got when I used this old film for a unit in my Information Technology Lab. Read morePublished on January 11, 2008 by Amazon Customer