The Enemy (MOVING PICTURE WORLD December 31, 1927)

The Enemy (MOVING PICTURE WORLD December 31, 1927)

MOVING PICTURE WORLD December 31, 1927

Through Box Office Windows

Looking at the week’s showings with both eyes on the ticket selling angles

The Enemy

Charming Pollock’s Impassioned Appeal for Peace Offers Interesting Study to Better Class Patron

Ralph Forbes, Lillian Gish and Fred Niblo - The Enemy Moving Picture World 1927
Ralph Forbes, Lillian Gish and Fred Niblo – The Enemy Moving Picture World 1927
CHANNING POLLOCK’S idealistic and somewhat hysterical diatribe against war and its horrors has come to the screen to teach the lesson intended by the author and also to point the unintended moral that after war things go on pretty much the same until the next one.
Lillian Gish, Ralph Forbes, Fritzi Ridgeway, John S - Wedding - The Enemy
Lillian Gish, Ralph Forbes, Fritzi Ridgeway, John S – Wedding – The Enemy

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Lillian Gish in “The Enemy”

From Channing Pollock’s play

Directed by Fred Niblo

A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Picture

Lillian Gish, Ralph Forbes silent film The Enemy orp
Lillian Gish, Ralph Forbes silent film The Enemy orp

THE CAST:

Pauli Arndt …………………………………. Lillian Gish
Carl Behrend ……………………………. Ralph Forbes
Bruce Gordon ……………………….. Ralph Emerson
August Behrend ……………………. George Fawcett
Prof. Arndt ……………………………….. Frank Currier
Mitzi Winkelmann ………………. Fritzi Ridgeway
Fritz Winkelmann ………………….. John S. Peters
Jan ………………………………………………….. Karl Dane
Baruska ………………………………………. Polly Moran
Kurt …………………………………… Billy Kent Shaefer
Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes (The Enemy)
Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes (The Enemy)
Carl Behrend, a German, and Bruce Gordon, an Englishman, are graduates of the University at Vienna in 1914 and pledge eternal friendship. War is declared and the erstwhile chums become bitter enemies. Carl is called to the colors on his wedding night, leaving Pauli Arndt to the care of her father, a Professor in the University, a kindly old dreamer, whose pacific teachings cause his dismissal. Reduced to dire want through a quarrel with Carl’s father, a profiteer, the child dies and word comes that Carl has been killed. Eventually he returns and once more Professor Arndt teaches tolerance as the one cartain cure for war.
Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes in The Enemy (MGM, 1927). Portrait Photo 11
The effort to make the demanded happy ending almost entirely nullifies the propaganda of the author. The story has been carefully brought to the screen by Agnes Christine Johnston and Willis Goldbeck, and has been staged with every care by Fred Niblo, but it is to be questioned whether the play will make appeal to the masses, and even its Broadway success is somewhat doubtful. “The Enemy” is a play of words and thoughts, not of action, and dramatic as the underlying thought may be, the silence of the screen reveals mostly the action. The action in itself is vivid, hysterically so, for the director has sought to achieve this quality which is the essence of the story itself. There are a number of impressive sequences, and the most impressive of these is perhaps that in which Carl, on brief leave, comes to his home only to find that his wife and her father are gone. The bleak desolation of these untenanted rooms with their unwashed dirt and cold emptiness has been made finely pictorial, and is far more impressive than other scenes which are intended to have stronger effect. For the screen, the story is weakened by the happy ending, which may send the spectator out in a cheerful frame of mind, but which does not leave him impressed. The logical ending would be the extinction of them all. It would perhaps hurt the ticket sales, but probably not as much as might be supposed, for this ending is not convincing.
Most of the interest goes to Lillian Gish, who never has done a more honest bit of acting. It is earnest, sincere, and save where the author grows over hysterical, convincing. It rises superior to her “Hester Prynne” and atones for “Annie Laurie.” Ralph Forbes, as the young husband, is given less chance, but – is straighforward and appealing. Frank Currier does his best to make Arndt human, but the character sketch is almost too saccharine. George Fawcett, as the profiteering father of the boy, fares much better. Karl Dane and Polly Moran look after the comedy relief competently, and Dane has one brief moment in which he is permitted to get away from the comedy and show he can do tragic work. It is brief, but effective. The settings are excellent and did this come from some German studio, it would be acclaimed a cinematic triumph. Coming from Hollywood should not alter its status.

“The Enemy” is strong food for better minds. —SARG.

Moving Picture World (Dec 31 1927) The Enemy
Moving Picture World (Dec 31 1927) The Enemy
The Enemy
The Enemy

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