Some movie lovers carry around actual lists of films they haven't yet seen, to remind themselves of what's to come. I don't carry any such list, but if I did, one film on it would be 1927's Children of Divorce. This standard love-triangle weepie was first shot by studio man Frank Lloyd, then shelved by Paramount Pictures for being as bland as its title. Then, a stroke of luck: the studio ordered the film to be half re-shot by its assistant director, none other than 33-year old Josef von Sternberg, who was soon to enter his most creative years. Sternberg is said to have relished the opportunity to experiment, deluging the film with his trademark light-and-shadow-play, tossing out static long-shots in favor of intrusive close-ups, and otherwise taking full advantage of the haunting, teardrop face of 22-year old Clara Bow, who played the film's heroine, Kitty. Sternberg is also said to have supervised a thrilling finale, in which Kitty learns that the plot's romantic knots can only untie with her death.

categories Features, Movies, Cinematical