Kino has put out a pair of DVDs featuring two of the
Talmadge Sisters, Norma and Constance.
They were both big stars in the silent era and had their own
companies. (Their middle sister, Natalie
only appeared in a few films and was Buster Keaton's first wife.) The two sister's stage personalities were
polar opposites. The blond and perky Constance was a comedienne while the brunette
Norma was a
tragic heroine. Both sisters are
largely forgotten today and many of their films are lost.
The ones that survive are rarely shown. That's
why it's such a treat that Kino has
dug up a total of four films by these two silent stars and released
them on a
pair of discs.
The Constance Talmadge Collection includes two wonderful
films both costarring Ronald Coleman.
It's a must-buy for silent comedy fans.
Her Night of Romance
(1924): This wonderfully amusing
romantic comedy features Constance as a rich young heiress, Dorothy
travels to England
in secret to get away from all of the fortune hunters back in the
states. As she states early in the film,
love her, they love her money and she hates them all.
That soon changes when she trips and is helped
up by the dashing man who then leaves.
The man is Lord Paul Menford (Ronald Colman) a nobleman who has
on hard times and has to sell his estate.
In a series of coincidences that could only occur in a
romantic comedy, Dorothy's butler confuses Menford with his uncle, who
famous physician, and brings him to treat the young woman.
At the same time Dorothy's father offers to
buy Lord Menford's estate. When Menford
and Dorothy arrive at his old home, the two have to pretend that they
are married. Add into the mix Menford's
manager and you've got a recipe for a hilarious comedy.
I really enjoyed this movie a lot. Constance was
a top-notch comedienne who was incredibly funny.
Her facial expressions alone are enough to
raise fits of laughter. Pairing her with
Ronald Coleman was a stoke of genius too.
Not only does he have a lot of comedic talent too, but the pair
lot of screen chemistry too. They play
off each other wonderfully. It's too bad
that neither of these fine actors is better known today.
Her Sister from Paris
(1925): Made the following year, this is
great comedy. Constance
plays a dual role in this film and is quite good in both roles.
Helen Weyringer (Constance Talmadge) and her husband Joseph
(Ronald Coleman) have been married a while and the spark has gone out. After a fight Helen goes home to her
mother's, but on the way remembers that her sister, a world-famous
her identical twin (a single beauty mark is the only difference), is
in town that day. She makes a detour to
the train station where she has to fight the crowds to see her sibling
Lola. Once there together, Helen reveals
troubles and Lola has a plan...
Later, Joseph and his friend Robert (George K. Arthur) run
into the wild, vivacious, and outgoing Lola and go out for a night on
town. Both men are infatuated with the
charismatic dancer from Paris
and Joseph even plans to run away with her, but there's a snag in his
While most viewers will predict the outcome of this film
from the very beginning, it's not the result at the end we're watching
movie for, but the ride to get there.
And what a ride it is. The film
is filled with comic moments and once again Constance Talmadge shows
talented comedienne she really is.
Ronald Coleman holds his own too, which is saying something. Another great comic gem.
These two films come on one single-sided DVD.
These two films are
accompanied by piano scores composed and performed by Bruce Loeb (Her Night of Romance) and Judith
Rosenberg (Her Sister from Paris).
While I admit I prefer orchestral scores,
these accompaniments were fine. They
were scene specific and though not as catchy as some scores, suited the
Both movies were restored by the Library of Congress, and
look great. The contrast is excellent
the prints are generally clear and the detail is very good. There are some occasional specks here and
there, but they aren't distracting in the least. A
very good looking pair of silent gems.
The only extra is a photo gallery.
These two films were surprisingly good. This
was my first exposure to Constance
Talmadge and I was duly impressed. Both
films are funny and enjoyable, and while they may be predictable it's
getting to the ending anyway. Highly