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Dream of Love
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MGM silent. 65 minutes.
US release: 12/1/28.
Not available on VHS or DVD.
Cast: Joan Crawford (as "Adrienne"), Nils Asther, Aileen Pringle, Warner Oland, Carmel Myers, Harry Reinhardt, Harry Myers, Alphonse Martell, Fletcher Norton.
Credits: From the play "Adrienne Lecouvreur" by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve. Continuity: Dorothy Farnum. Director: Fred Niblo. Camera: Oliver Marsh and William Daniels. Titles: Marion Ainslee and Ruth Cummings. Editor: James MacKay.
Plot Summary: The venerable French stage drama "Adrienne Lecouvreur" was redressed by MGM as the Joan Crawford vehicle Dream of Love. It's a rags-to-riches yarn, as a fiery gypsy girl (Crawford) becomes an internationally popular actress. Loved by thousands of fans, Adrienne Lecouvreur is unable to find true love for herself until she makes the acquaintance of roguish Prince Mauritz (Nils Asther). The more overt sexual implications of the original play were toned down by screenwriter Dorothy Farnum, much to the disappointment of Joan Crawford's fervent fans. Like most of MGM's late-1928 releases, Dream of Love was outfitted with a William Axt musical score. Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
New York Sun (1928):
Miss Crawford was not directed as well as usual, and as a result was not at her best, but Dream of Love is probably not the right material for such a fresh and vital actress as she customarily is. Any coming American star is liable to wither in Graustark.
Irene Thirer in the New York News (1928):
There are some really interesting things in Dream of Love. Too bad that bad editing and a set of ludicrous titles should send it down into the two-star class when it might easily have made a three-star rating if more care had been taken. For instance, photography is altogether lovely. Fred Niblo's productions always boast a rare charm on that score, and this is no exception.
Mordaunt Hall in the New York Times (December 24, 1928):
Various phases of palpitation of the heart are paraded during the screening of "Dream of Love," a Rurutanian romance inspired by the old French stage offering, "AdrienneLecouvreur." Prince Mauritz, the central figure in these love escapades, for purely patriotic reasons, not only flirts with the Dictator's wife, but he occasionally basks in the glimmering presence of a gold-digging blonde and falls in love with a singer.
Fred Niblo, who directed this picture, has given to it much more reason and sparkle than he did to "Two Lovers." In fact, in many respects it is not only an amusing picture, but one that reveals true skill in its direction. Mr. Niblo has elicited from his principals competent work, and he has had the temerity to let the story run without flashing uselessly to the journeying heroine while the more interesting action of the narrative is holding forth. There are toward the end some scenes of great crowds, but whether they were made especially for this production is not known. Their inclusion, is, however, quite effective.
Prince Mauritz, impersonated by Nils Asther, is a most immaculately uniformed young man. The Dictator, played by Warner Oland, is wont to refer to the handsome fellow as the "long-legged Prince." This kingdom is evidently in a wretched state, for Prince Mauritz has nothing whatever to say about finance or other matters. The Dictator has a pretty wife, acted by Aileen Pringle, who, either to bring about the downfall of Prince Mauritz or to teach her husband a lesson, frequently visits the Prince. The Prince is in love with Adrienne, a singer with a traveling show. He is, however, eminently successful in casting her from his mind when the Duchess, as the Dictator's wife is known, reports at his apartment.
The Dictator finds his attention riveted on a Countess (Carmel Myers), but while she apparently appreciates the elderly person's declaration, of affection in public, she is not opposed to receiving in her abode a Baron. When the Dictator calls her on the telephone she insists that she is all alone, waiting for him to come to see her, and then one perceives the Baron enjoying the Countess's little joke.
The Prince, in his eagerness to break up the more or less happy home of the Dictator so as to put that individual out of power, very nearly loses Adrienne, his real love, who latterly appears as a successful actress with a glistening dress.
The settings for this production are lavish and so are the costumes. There are dozens of men in smart officers' uniforms and Miss Pringle does well with the Duchess's gowns and sparkling skull caps.
Mr. Niblo makes excellent use of the mobile cameras. He follows his characters all over the place and in some scenes he singles out the heroine in a crowd and brings her, as if from a distance, to a close-up.
Mr. Asther is capital as the romantic Prince. Mr. Oland leaves no stone unturned to show the pomp and power of the Dictator. Harry Myers, who will be remembered in the now long ago for his clever portrayal in "A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur," once again proves himself to be an intelligent and pleasing player.
Joan Crawford is charming as the humble singer, who wins stage laurels and subsequently admits her love for the Prince.
No sound issued from the screen at the first performance yesterday. Even the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion refused to roar. It was rather nice, this silence, and one did not object to the organist supplying the accompaniment for the picture.
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