Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Phantom in the House (1929)

An early talkie, and a bit rough around the edges but an interesting story. A woman (Nancy Welford) kills a man trying to take advantage of her. Her husband (Henry B. Walthall) takes the fall and ends up in prison for fifteen years.

When he finally is released he finds his wife has moved on into high society - and it's overjoyed to have him back - and his baby daughter is now a fully grown woman (Grace Valentine) being pursued by a titled womaniser while in love with Paul (Ricardo Cortez).

Many talkies suffered from rather stilted and unnatural dialogue and static camerawork due to the limited nature of the technology at the time and The Phantom in the House is no exception (though not the worst). Some of the acting is also awkward, actors were still getting used to talking on film though Walthall does really well. However it is an interesting film, with a good if sometimes pretty dark story. Plus it had some truly great set design.