When the Clouds Roll By

Overview

This lively silent romantic comedy was the second film made by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. for the new United Artists company. Much of the film is a satiric broadside aimed at the then-innovational field of psychiatry. Wealthy young bachelor Fairbanks allows a pompous head-shrinker to influence his romantic pursuit of Greenwich Village artist Katherine Williams. There's action, athletics and laughs aplenty, topped by a terrific climactic flood sequence. The film's highlight is Fairbanks' therapy-induced dream, a ...
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Overview

This lively silent romantic comedy was the second film made by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. for the new United Artists company. Much of the film is a satiric broadside aimed at the then-innovational field of psychiatry. Wealthy young bachelor Fairbanks allows a pompous head-shrinker to influence his romantic pursuit of Greenwich Village artist Katherine Williams. There's action, athletics and laughs aplenty, topped by a terrific climactic flood sequence. The film's highlight is Fairbanks' therapy-induced dream, a triumph of special effects which is still capable of amazing audiences "jaded" by Spielberg and Lucas. When the Clouds Roll By comes to a hilariously ironic conclusion when the "psychiatrist" is revealed to be an escaped mental patient.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Some aspects of the plot of When The Clouds Roll By may confuse and bewilder modern viewers -- as with many a musical or fantasy film, the plot doesn't bear too close an examination. But producer/star Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and director Victor Fleming throw enough action, suspense, and lyricism into the procedings, and a couple of bravura special-effects driven sections -- one a dream-sequence with a stunning pay-off in a seeming feat of anti-gravity by Fairbanks that still dazzles, the other a storm sequence that anticipates Fleming's handling of the tornado in The Wizard of Oz, nearly two decades later -- all of which combine to make a thoroughly entertaining roller-coaster ride of a movie. And ironically, almost a century after the movie was made, while most of the portrayals may seem predictable or hopelessly dated, the character of Lucette Bancroft (Kathleen Clifford), a midwestern girl drawn to Greenwich Village and life as an artist, seems remarkably up-to-date and realistic. It's all great fun, even if the story doesn't bear much in the way of analysis, and is also the forerunner to such better-known sound-era dramas and comedies but around psychology and neuroses as the 1940 and 1944 versions of Gaslight, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and They Might Be Giants (1971).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2011
  • UPC: 842614103261
  • Original Release: 1920
  • Source: Grapevine Video
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Douglas Fairbanks Daniel Boon Brown
Frank Campeau Mark Drake
Kathleen Clifford Lucette Bancroft
Herbert Grimwood Dr. Metz
Ralph Lewis Curtis Brown
Albert MacQuarrie Hobson
Daisy Robinson Bobbie De Vere
Technical Credits
Victor Fleming Director
Tom J. Geraghty Screenwriter
Joseph Henaberry Asst. Director
William McGann Cinematographer
Harry Thorpe Cinematographer
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