FERNANDO’s CORNER ~ Posted October 23rd, 2016
“THE DEVIL’S CIRCUS” (1926) (MGM) (Dir: Benjamin Christianson aka Benjamin Christensen) is one of those films I thought that I’d never be able to see in my life; in fact, I was not sure that it was extant.
During the 1920s American film studios brought to the USA talented actors, writers and directors from all over Europe, including Nordic directors like Victor Sjöström aka Seastrom, Mauritz Stiller and Benjamin Christianson, who directed this flick.
This is a very good, dramatic film in which Norma Shearer gives a very fine performance as an innocent girl who arrives to the city to work in a circus. She meets a crook (Charles Emmett Mack ~ a young actor killed in a car crash almost a year after this film), who at first wants to take advantage of her, but later on is won by her beauty, purity and rectitude. Working in the circus she meets a lecherous man who stalks her endlessly, a lion tamer played by John Miljan and arouses the jealousy of his lover (Carmel Myers).
The film gains momentum as we reach a climatic scene that got me on the verge of my seat, literally. That scene is very well filmed and staged and the special effects are good. The film has everything: a sensitive love story that reminded me a bit of such Borzage films a “Seventh Heaven” and “Street Angel” tragedy; redemption; a rape scene; action; WWI’s effects on the characters; atonement….
I can’t thank enough the friend that made it possible for me to watch this very rare film.
( H O M E )