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Tol'able David is a magnificent film, carefully transferred from the best available elements, and starring the great Richard Barthelmess (Broken Blossoms) in the title role. This silent classic chronicles David's passage into adulthood as he confronts three crooks looking for trouble. A delightful gem from film's early years.
Top Customer Reviews
In making the film, the characterizations and plot were designed in such a way that they are familiar but also unique. The story defies some of what have come to be conventions (stereotypes) for supporting roles. And, it betrays what have always been simpler expectations for a story with a happy ending. While there is sorrow and loss in modern film and earlier film, here they are portrayed without the often contingent silver-linings. Bad things happen in this film...and we are not given the immediate sense that all will be right in the end.
The title role is filled admirably by Richard Barthelmess. He did fine work here -- no wonder it led to his making as a star. But for me, the film was made by the principal heavy -- played by Ernest Torrence. What a creep he managed to portray -- a villain with a completely perverted moral sense. And Torrence held nothing back in his postures and expressions. He had this character nailed. A stunning performance.
Director Henry King did marvelous work with this villain and all of the film's elements. Portraying an idyllic rural atmosphere which is soon troubled by the arrival of lawlessness (Torrence and two other actors who play the nefarious Hatburn family), he demonstrates an ability to frame a scene with great visual appeal. He also manages to be economical in a sense -- one camera angle captures the majority of a scene's action and this is supplemented by occasional close-up reaction shots. His camera positioning is expert in this.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This film is a lukewarm piece of americana. It is meant as a hymn to a bygone pastoral era but seems contrived and manipulative to me. The directing is competent, the acting fair. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2002 by Ingles
It may be of interest to film history buffs to know that much of the scenery and buildings in this film still exist today in rural Highland County, VA where the film was shot. Read morePublished on July 9 1999 by email@example.com