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3 Silents In A Row Morning of 2/1


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I wrote a big review of TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS (1927), on another forum several months ago. I really love this movie, in-fact it has become one of my favorite Silent films! I hope it will pop up on official DVD later this year.

 

Here is most of my review. Though portions now, seem to be missing. I don't think I have posted it here before?

 

TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS (1927) : ("Boyd and Wolheim are Hilarious!" Astor is "Hubba, Hubba!" )

 

1927 was a gigantic year in the movies! Some of the finest, and most enduring films of the decade where released during that year.

 

Chances are, even the most rabid Silent film fan may not be familiar with TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS, however. The primary reason for this being that the filmed was believed to be lost for decades! Then Miraculously in 2000, a print was uncovered stashed away in Co-producer the legendary Howard Hughes vault! A significant find!

 

Flicker Ally Company, with funding from Turner Classic Movies, set out to restore as much of the film as they could. The results for the most part where impressive, and they reveal to us a forgotten classic rescued from the ravages of time!

 

While about 65 percent of the restoration is pristine looking, the remainder is filled with various signs of chemical decomposition! Some of it is quite minimal, while other portions appear pretty severe!

 

While, It's unfortunate that the entire picture, could not be fully restored, I'm sure that they did the very best they could with the existing elements? This movie was actually nominated for an Oscar in the first year of the Academy Awards. It is easy now to see why!

 

The film stars William Boyd, best known two and three decades later as Hop?A Long Cassidy, mostly on TV during the 1950's. Long before that, Boyd, actually had a solid, if not spectacular Silent film career. Enjoying noteworthy success with films such as THE YANKEE CLIPPER (also 1927), and this one.

 

In TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS, Boyd plays William Dangerfield Phelps The Third, a Wealthy playboy who is not enjoying his time at all as an American Soldier during World War One! A homely and brutish Sergeant ?Taxi Cab? ?Pete O? Gaffney? (Louis Wolheim) has made Phelps time in the infantry all the more unpleasant for him!

 

When these two bitter rivals find themselves "Out In The Middle Of ?No Man?s Land?, they would rather tackle each other, than the converging Germans! Although, once taken prisoner by the Hun?s, they soon develop a respectful camaraderie between one another.

 

Directed by the great Lewis Milestone, every one of his Silent's I have seen such as THE GARDEN OF EDEN (1928), and THE RACKET (1928) are outstanding! While A fantastic Orchestral score by Robert Israel, one of his finest efforts ever, compliments the completed restoration!

 

I thought this was going to be another drama? Instead It is a rousing knockout comedy! Much like WHAT PRICE GLORY (1926), it doesn't even try to take itself seriously. as a war, film I certainly never expected anything remotely so funny! This movie really had me rolling, at times! What a revelation!

 

Boyd, and Wolheim, retain their tenuous hate-love relationship, as two reluctant war buddies. in the classic "Monk" Mayfair, "Ham" Brooks mold! After fleeing the German prison camp, and stowing away from the War on a freighter, they rescue a beautiful Arab Princess (Mary Astor), from drowning.

 

This adds increased tension to their uneasy union. Again just like "Blodgett", and "Theodore Marley", both are big time wolves, who fancy themselves as quite the ladies men! This unlikely pairing is transformed into a top flight comedy team, by Milestone!

 

Mary Astor was arrestingly beautiful at this stage of her career. Oddly She is somewhat underutilized in this picture. Not making her first appearance until the film is nearly half over.

 

The two determined Romeo's both try their best to romance the lovely Princess Mirza. All the time under the totally false impression that She is unable to understand a single word that they are saying to her! Before long The Princess not surprisingly loses her heart to the significantly better looking of the persistent twosome.

 

Soon it?s revealed that She is already Betrothed to another man! The handsome, and charming Shevket. (Ian Keith), Who likewise happens to be a real Stinker, personally selected for Her by Mirza?s powerful Emir of a Father!

 

The dastardly Fianc?e arrives in a motor boat to take his ?Bride To Be? back home. Just then, William, and Pete beat a hasty retreat from the Captain of the ship! They owe him the doe for their entire voyage, and He intends to collect! Regrettably, these guys are woefully devoid of funds at the moment!

 

Now the fun really begins! Mirza?s dad The Emir, is horrified to hear that his pride and Joy was seen fraternizing with two unidentified American servicemen while on the boat! Even worse, He is informed that the Princess even ?Lifted Her Vial For One Of Them!? A dreaded No, No!

 

Upon receiving word, The Emir immediately orders both their deaths! Not good, for you see the duo is headed straight for The Palace and is fully expecting not only to be welcomed with open arms, but a big reward, for saving Mirza?s life! Won?t give the rest of this one away!

 

Tentatively scheduled to have been released by Flicker Ally on DVD, last year, this has yet to happen? Perhaps it and the other two newly discovered and restored Howard Hughes produced Silent Features of the 1920's, THE RACKET (1928), and THE MATING CALL (also, 1928), will still be released before the end of the year, or in early 2007?

 

With any luck, it is only a matter of time before these three excellent films, are introduced to Silent film fans everywhere!

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