The Married Virgin

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Count Roberto di San Fraccini (Rudolph Valentino) is not a good man, as he courts married women and dabbles in criminal activities as well. His current lover is Ethel Spencer McMillan (Kathleen Kirkham), who happens to be married to Fiske McMillan (Edward Jacobsen). In case you haven’t heard of him, McMillan is an older man and thanks to his skills in the realm of business, has become very wealthy over the years. Of course, Ethel doesn’t love Fiske and simply wants his money, which she and the Count plan to take. But when their blackmail plan misfires and McMillan refuses to cough up, the Count decides to dump Ethel and go about this with a new plan. He approaches their daughter, Mary (Vera Sesson) and offers to save her father from his problems, in exchange for her hand in marriage and her dowery, which is sure to be handsome. But will his plan go as expected, or will this one blow up in his face as well?

I’d never seen this film prior to this review, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this release. I am not a silent film expert by any means, but I have seen a decent number of them and have liked more than a few of those I’ve seen. I favor some because of the visuals, which play such an important role in silent cinema, but some are chosen for their wonderful performances. The Married Virgin has shades of both of those elements, although neither is taken to the ends I would have liked. The cast here, headed by Rudolph Valentino, is more than adequate, but failed to move me in the end. The visuals also some signs of potential, but fall short of what I really wanted. But for a film made in 1918, The Married Virgin has held up well, so I am giving it a nice recommendation here.

The film career of Joseph Maxwell begins and ends with this film, which is odd to me, as he shows some traces of strong potential. The film’s visuals are standard fare with a few exceptions, but Maxwell seems to have a good sense of pace and works his actors well enough. I know his work here is not extraordinary, but he is solid enough to warrant another couple shots behind the camera, I think. So I am not sure why this film marked the alpha and omega of Maxwell’s career, but I do think it is a bit of a shame. The big name on the cast here is Rudolph Valentino (The Sheik, Camille), who went on to become the stud of silent cinema. I wasn’t too impressed by his work here, but he did go on to turn in some superb performances later on. Also seen here are Vera Sisson (Women and Roses), Kathleen Kirkham (The Third Kiss), and Frank Newberg (Business Is Business).

Video: How does it look?

The Married Virgin is presented in the intended full frame aspect ratio. This film was made in 1918, so there is a lot of debris and wear present, but not to the extent you might think. The damage is constant, but not too serious and as such, the film is more than watchable. This edition was culled from various sources, so some elements look better than others, but in the end, this is a terrific presentation for a film that is well over eighty years old.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a silent film, so the audio here covers only the new stereo musical soundtrack. The music sounds very good here, clean and crisp at all times. This new soundtrack seems to suit the film well also, which is good, since it plays an important role in how effective some scenes are. All in all, a solid overall musical soundtrack that comes off well here, not much else to discuss.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes an excerpt from another Valentino flick, Eyes of Youth, as well as some newsreel footage concerning his death and funeral.

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