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Lorna Doone was filmed three times before in the silent era, and six times more in the sound era, but the 1922 production directed by Maurice Tourneur is arguably one of the finest, and without a doubt the most beautiful. Like most of the feature adaptations of Lorna Doone, the 1922 version allows the romance and action of the novel to exist largely untouched by the tumult of the English Civil War. A young girl of noble birth is kidnapped by the Doones, a feared band of thieves and cutthroats. Their leader, fallen nobleman Sir Ensor Doone, raises the girl, Lorna, as one of his own kin. Lorna secretly falls in love with yeoman John Ridd, but must contend with the brutish Carver Doone, who wants Lorna for his own. In Lorna Doone, Tourneur uses natural lighting and the landscape to frame his actors with painterly effect, showcasing a very different set of aesthetic values than those of The Blue Bird, with its elaborate stylized sets and costumes. Both are representative gems of his silent work, much of which remains lost.
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Top customer reviews
This version has more intensity and sense of historical place than the other two versions. While the costuming is a little "off" -- as was typical for films of that era -- the working classes seem to be wearing clothes from 1625 and the upper classes, except for the King, are wearing clothes from about 1660 -- while the film is set in 1685 -- but the film is very true to the novel.
The social constraints, rigid class structure and the relative lawlessness of Western England in that era are clearly shown. The two young lovers are visibly passionately in love.
The villains and their dreadful treatment of their wives, girl friends and children are displayed very convincingly in this 1922 version -- one of the modern versions shows only one child living in the villains' settlement and no women -- whereas the villains were famous for kidnapping local women and raising their kids to become criminals like themselves.
I enjoyed this.