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Her Sister from Paris (as part of the Constance Talmadge Collection) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 8, 2010 by  



Many films starring Constance Talmadge may be lost but fortunately KINO International has brought two of her silent films on DVD via the Constance Talmadge Collection. “Her Sister from Paris” features Constance Talmadge in dual roles and reuniting with Ronald Colman for another enjoyable romantic comedy. Definitely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2010 Kino Intl., Corp. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Her Sister from Paris (as part of the Constance Talmadge Collection)

DURATION: 74 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:33:1, Black and White, English Intertitles

COMPANY: Kino International

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: March 2010

Based on the Play by Ludwig Fulda

Directed by Sidney Franklin

Written by Hanns Kraly

Produced by Joseph M. Schenk

Cinematography by Arthur Edeson

Costume Design by Adrian

Starring:

Constance Talmadge as Helen Weyringer and Lola

Ronald Colman as Joseph Weyringer

George K. Arthur as Robert Well

Gertrude Claire as Bertha, the Housekeeper

While elder sister Norma devoted herself to tear-stained romance and tragedy, Constance Talmadge carved out her own reputation in a series of bubbly, Lubitsch-flavored comedies. Often appearing as the “virtuous vamp,” (a mesmerizing beauty who could be naughty yet nice), Constance had looks and comic timing that are as modern today as they were eighty years ago.

HER SISTER FROM PARIS allowed Talmadge to demonstrate her comic range in dual roles: a frumpy-but-faithful housewife and her sophisticated twin sister.  When a hausfrau’s husband (Colman) begins to lose interest in his wife, the arrival of her twin, a dancer and “woman of the world,” provides just the right impetus to reinvigorate their relationship.

Talmadge was truly an icon of the silent screen.  At the end of the era, she chose (without regret) to retire from motion pictures and enjoy her personal life, without ever having made a “talkie.”
— Joseph Yranski, film historian

The Talmadge sisters: Norma, Constance and Natalie. Three women who were known for their work in the 1910-1929 and also for their personal lives as Norma was married to millionaire producer Joseph Schenk, Natalie who was briefly married to silent film superstar Natalie while Constance was married to John Pialoglu (in a double wedding along with Dorothy Gish and James Rennie) and three other men.

But Constance Talmadge was known as the blonde Talmadge, known for her work with D.W. Griffith especially for the 1916 film “Intolerance” and from 1914 through 1929, in her 15-year movie career, Constance had made over 80 silent films.

But unfortunately, many of her films are lost. Fortunately, KINO International has released “The Constance Talmadge Collection” (as well as “The Nora Talmadge Collection”) containing her 1924 film “Her Night of Romance” and her 1925 film “Her Sister from Paris” which are Constance’s later silent films a few years before retiring from the industry.

“Her Sister from Paris”  brings back Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman as a couple once again but in this film, the two are playing characters that are married and undergoing major problems.

Both Joseph Weyringer (played by Ronald Colman) and wife Helen (played Constance Talmadge) are having serious problems in their relationship and no matter what Helen does as a wife, she feels that her husband doesn’t appreciate her and the way he is behaving, it seems like he doesn’t.  Upset with how the two keep arguing, Helen tells Joseph that she will be staying with her mother and leaves.

His friend Robert (played by George K. Arthur) thinks it’s hilarious that the two are not getting along and recommends to his buddy to have some fun while the two are away from each other.  But when both men discover a photo of Helen’s twin sister that they never knew about, both are shocked that Helen’s twin aka “Madame La Perry” (also played by Constance Talmadge) who is a professional dancer living in Paris and will be performing in the US and where Helen looks like an ordinary housewife, Joseph points out that Helen’s twin sister is quite beautiful.  Both men decide to have some fun by watching La Perry perform live.

Meanwhile, Helen goes to see her sister (not her mother) to catch up on old times and tells her about her marital problems.  La Perry thinks that her sister needs to get away from her old fashion style and the first thing she does is give Helen an identical haircut.  The resemblance of both women are uncanny but the difference is La Perry has a birthmark on her bottom right cheek and thus to fool her staff, she has Helen wearing a fake birthmark.  The two have fun in confusing their staff members.

While La Perry performs live in concert, Joseph and Robert are just in awe of how beautiful La Perry is and how talented she is.  After the event is over, her sister is happy about how the audience have supported her sister but while she is chasing the flowers to pick them up for La Perry, the stage curtains open up and everyone claps and thinks Helen is La Perry and her sister and staff have a laugh that even the audience can’t tell the difference. But when Helen looks up at the stage, she is shocked to see her husband and Robert over there and is upset that immediately after she left him, he is already having fun.

In the dressing room, Helen is reduced to tears that her husband seems to have no interested in her and is already having fun.  In fact, immediately after the event, both Joseph and Robert secretly (behind each other’s backs) try to invite Helen to a date afterwards.  La Perry comes up with an idea.   Why not teach her husband a lesson by Helen pretending to be La Perry and see how far she can go with the joke and see how much her husband loves her (or not love her).

Next thing you know, Helen dons her sister’s clothing, wears the fake birthmark and immediately plays the part of her twin sister and goes to work on both Joseph and Robert who are attracted to her and thinking she is La Perry.  But will Helen find out if her husband truly loves her or her twin sister?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Her Sister from Paris” is presented in black and white (1:33:1). Unlike “Her Night of Romance”, “Her Sister from Paris” suffers from film degradation and major warping.  There are a few times throughout the film where the warping and acid bubbles from the original Nitrate can be seen.  Also, plenty of scratches and dust are present at times.  But the film is watchable and it may not have as good as picture quality as “Her Night of Romance” but considering this film is over 85-years-old and a Constance Talmadge film that is not lost, the fact that KINO International has added it as a secondary film is wonderful.

As for film speed, film speed was very good.  I didn’t think the film was slow or too fast.  Of course, there are scenes that look like it was missing a frame or two but overall, “Her Sister from Paris” on this DVD is probably the best we are going to see of this film for probably a long time.

AUDIO & INTERTITLES:

“Her Sister from Paris” features music composed and performed by Judith Rosenberg.  The music works perfectly with the film and quite a lively piano score.  The film features Intertitles that are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There are no special features included on this DVD but the two silent films.

I don’t have many Constance Talmadge silent films in my collection, so I’m actually quite grateful to KINO International for releasing two DVD’s for both Constance and Norma Talmadge.

Having enjoyed “Her Night of Romance” a lot and was definitely pleased by the pairing of both Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman, I was happy to see the two reunited for another film in “Her Sister from Paris”.  But in this film, Constance Talmadge plays dual roles and she literally steals the film.  Her character of Helen is full of vibrancy, enthusiasm and energy and its just so enjoyable to see her transformation from boring housewife to a lively woman imitating her sister and fooling her own husband.  Her charm and beauty are showcased in this film and once again, both Talmadge and Colman are a wonderful pair onscreen.

Of course, Ronald Colman had to play somewhat of the bad guy as you wonder if this man would have an affair with another woman (even if that other woman is his wife in disguise) and you wonder how far this man would go to be with his wife’s sister and if he will feel any guilt for his philandering at all.

Although, I enjoyed “Her Night of Romance” much more in terms of storyline, “Her Sister from Paris” is still an enjoyable romantic comedy and a silent film that I am so happy that Kino International decided to include on this DVD.  Of course, all is not perfect as the print has its share of problems but fortunately the whole film is watchable.  The damaged sequences are short.

Overall, both “Her Night of Romance” and “Her Sister from Paris” are two awesome Constance Talmadge films and for people who are not familiar with Constance’s silent films will definitely enjoy these two films that Kino International has released on DVD.  Let’s hope that there are more films to be released in the Constance Talmadge Collection.  For silent film fans, this DVD is definitely recommended!






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