Wednesday, December 1, 2010

7th Heaven (1927)

7th Heaven is one of the few silent films in my quest as the silent era was ending as the Academy initiated its awards ceremony. It's a sweet little tale set in Paris just before World War I. The confident Chico let's everyone know he's "a very remarkable fellow" as he ascends from a mere sewer worker to a proud street cleaner. His world is altered when he comes to the aid of the destitute Diane who is constantly abused by her wicked sister. Diane is smitten with Chico, but he takes a little longer in coming around. Just as he starts to fall for her, the war intervenes.

Sometimes the simplicity of early film making can be a nuisance, but here it's cute and works. The movie proudly showcases a special effect where the camera follows the characters up several flights of stairs from the fourth wall viewpoint to Chico's apartment. My favorite line of title card dialogue came when Chico and Diane were waiting for the police to come and question them. After Chico opens the door a man enters in plain clothes and says, "I am a police detective." No, hello, just the facts, ma'am.

94 to go...

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