The Red Mill
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Silent movies relied upon facial exaggeration, and few faces could top those of multitalented Marion Davies, showcased from slapstick to heartbreak to horror in The Red Mill, deftly directed by William Goodrich, alias Fatty Arbuckle. Like Cinderella, barmaid Tina (Davies) toils under her villainous boss at a small-town tavern, where she scrubs floors by strapping brushes to her skates and keeps a pet mouse inside a wooden shoe. Hope and love's promise beckon in the handsome form of Dennis (Owen Moore), until he falls in love with Tina's girlfriend Gretchen (Louise Faenda), shackled in a looming pre-arranged marriage. Davies herself lobbied for Arbuckle, blackballed because of an earlier scandal - but as it turns out, an excellent choice for embellishing the hilarious comedy bits and the ensuing tragic scenes at the climax inside the haunted mill.
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Directed by Fatty Arbuckke under a pseudonym.
Marion Davis is in top form. She can go toe to toe with Chaplin and Keaton with this performance.
Added bonus; the soundtrack!!!
Wow! I can just play the soundtrack from start to finish. This film was scored to perfection.
Clearing Up a Misunderstanding: At birth, Roscoe was given the name "Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle". His father's name was "William Goodrich Arbuckle". In his entertainment career, Roscoe used the name "Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle". In 1921 and 1922, Roscoe was charged with manslaughter involving a film actress, Virginia Rappe. Although he was exonerated in court, Roscoe was given only limited work, mostly directing or other jobs behind the camera. Because a hostile and vocal public still condemned him, Roscoe thought it best that he become as anonymous as possible. A partial solution was to go by, in his work, the name "William Goodrich". Roscoe used the pseudonym from 1925-1932. He died in 1933.
Later we learn that the miss of the house Marion works in is engaged to marry a wealthy man she does not love. The girl is homely and desperate to marry a poor laborer in town. Marion finds this out and offers to switch places with her so the girl can elope before her parent force her to marry.
This silent has great pacing, makes good use of the technology of the time period, and features a wonderful comedienne in a role that shows off her talents. Button-nosed and freckle faced Davies looks like a little girl here, but at the time she was one of the most famous kept-women of all time to one of the wealthiest men of all time. She was no dumb blonde and this film proves that. The supporting cast is excellent too and makes for a very enjoyable comedy directed by Fatty Arbuckle, who had been ostracized from Hollywood and therefore had to use a pseudonym.