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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Captive (1915)

Set during the Balkan wars, a young peasant girl (Blanche Sweet) from Montenegro must tend to the farm and her little brother (Gerald Ward) after her older brother (Page Peters) leaves for the war front. Meanwhile, the Turkish prisoners of war are assigned to help the women whose men are off to war. When a Turkish nobleman (House Peters) is assigned to her farm, the two find themselves attracted to each other. Cecil B. DeMille is more renowned today for his spectaculars but during the silent era, most of his films were rather subdued. This wispy tale of a burgeoning love between two people from different classes and countries balances humor (Peters doing the baking and laundry) and drama (an attempted rape) in equal doses. In 1915, Blanche Sweet was a huge star so her presence alone would be sure to attract ticket buyers. But if she's not a very commanding actress, she has a pleasant presence and a warm chemistry with House Peters. It's not a particularly memorable film but for fans of silent cinema or early DeMille, it's a must. 

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