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Beauty's Worth

Undercrank Productions // Unrated // August 8, 2017
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted August 2, 2017 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:



Though Marion Davies is best known as the William Randolph Hearst's
mistress, she was also an excellent actress. A trio of her lesser
known films are begin released by Undercrank Productions including When
Knighthood was in Flower
[href="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/72243/when-knighthood-was-in-flower/">review
here], The Bride's Play, and this film, 1922's Beauty's
Worth
. A light comedy, the film is enjoyable and fun and
Marion Davies is delightful.



Prudence Cole (Davies) is a young girl who is being raised by her
two maiden aunts. Her guardians are strict Quakers "to whom the
whole Twentieth Century is a work of Satan." Needless to say, it's a
quiet lifestyle.



When Prudence's childhood friend, Henry, comes for a visit with his
mother the two have a great time catching up after being apart for
years. At the end of the visit Henry's mother invites Prudence up to
Haven-on-the-Sea, a resort where they spend the summers. The aunts
grudgingly accept, and Prudence is off to have some fun and try to
woo Henry into proposing to her.



Things at the resort are not what Prudence had expected. Having
lived a sheltered life, the activities and dress of the young
wealthy people she's associating with are strange to her. And her
Quaker outfits are equally strange to them. The snobs in the group
make fun of Prudence constantly, and she realizes that she just
doesn't fit in. That changes when she's asked to invite a
standoffish artist, Cheyne Rovein (Forrest Stanley), to oversee a
game of charades. Rovein does not go for the frivolity and mindless
fun of his peers, he'd much rather paint and be productive.



Rovein sees something in Prudence however, a beautiful girl both
inside and out, and when he discovers that she's interested in
Henry, he sets out to help her. He designs new clothes for her,
schools her in how to act, and makes her the star of the charades
that he's planning. But after Prudence becomes socially acceptable,
will she still want the vacuous Henry?



This was a good film that has some nice moments, even if it was a
bit long. The director lets a few scenes run on longer than they
should which slows down the action, but this isn't a fatal flaw. It
is amusing to see the awkward Prudence interact with the snobs at
the resort, but the real treat in this film is the game of charades
in the middle. An elaborate, staged production, this isn't an
impromptu performance by someone who has had a bit too much to
drink. The hotel's guest gather in a theater to see the selected
youth's act out a pantomime that has been rehearsed, staged, and
choreographed.



Davies really shines in these three mini-plays. At she shows of her
skills as a dancer, then she gets to ham it up as a doll under a
Christmas tree who has a pair of toy suitors, and finally as a
goddess. These three scenes are a lot of fun and show how much
screen presence Davies had.



The rest of the film is delightful, if a bit predictable. Still,
it's comfortable fun and well worth checking out.



The DVD:





 Audio:



The score, composed and performed by Ben Model, is very good. He has
created a fine accompaniment that doesn't distract from the action
on screen but rather accentuates it. Being a recent recording, there
are no audio defects. A nice sounding disc.



Video:



The 35mm print of this movie used for the transfer is surprisingly
good. There is very little print damage (though there are some
specks is some parts) and no film decomposition. The tones are nice,
the image clear, and the level of detail is very good. I was
pleasantly pleased with the image quality throughout.



Extras:



None



Final Thoughts:



Marion Davies gives a solid performance in this light romantic
comedy. The newly composed score fits the film well, and the print
used to make the DVD is really outstanding for a film from 1922.
This gets a strong recommendation.


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