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Voltaire

Voltaire(1933)

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  • Voltaire (French writer, philosopher, playwright)

    • greymahr
    • 11/24/12

    My review is only based on one viewing of the film "Voltaire", which may be an unfair assessment. When criticizing a George Arliss film, one must view the film more than once to really appreciate the full affects of the original intent.I enjoyed watching the film based on the story content and how it was protrayed. The scenery alone is worth viewing! I was surprised on how crisp and clear a black and white film from 1933 could display the scenery and costumes so vividly, and great care went into the lighting in some of the scenes.A few of Mr. Arliss's scenes were overplayed. In defense of Mr. Arliss, there are two points:One: Mr. Arliss attempted for a number of years to bring "Voltaire" to the stage. He was unsuccessful in finding someone to write the play, and finally convinced Warner Brothers to produce the film version once a story was written. Obviously, waiting so long, his passion was finally unleashed in this film version.Second: Voltaire, the man, was a passionate individual. He was passionate about his writing, France, the French people, and justice. I am unable to speak for Mr. Arliss, but I believe he wanted to display Voltaire's passion and character. Mr. Arliss was known for portraying men of conviction (i.e. Disraeli, Alexander Hamilton).And then, there are always those George Arliss moments in a film that are solely his!Bed scene: An arm reaching out from the bed canopy to retrieve ink for his writing, when he was suposed to be resting. Book burning: Voltaire looking on while his works are being burned. Fireplace scene: Letter burning at the fireplace (be sure to check out the lighting in this scene).Doris Kenyon and Reginald Owen must have enjoyed playing their roles, just by watching their performances. Alan Mowbray plays a smooth and self-assured "bad guy" in his role as De Sarnac. Many of Mr. Arliss's regulars are present: Murray Kinnel, Ivan Simpson, David Torrence, Helena Philips, Doris Lloyd, Douglas Dumbrille.

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