Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

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  • Old Wives for New (1918) - Plot Summary - Another Cecil B. De Mille film along similar plotline to "Why Change Your Wife" and "Don't Change Your Husband". In this one though, the wife has SERIOUSLY let herself go in appearance. The opening title card advises wives to "trim their *Votes for Women* with a little lace and ribbon" - okay, another film where Cecil B. De Mille is trying to tell wives to not let their appearance go after marriage. Multi-millionaire oil king, Charles Murdock (Elliott Dexter), is still handsome after twenty or so years of marriage, but his wife Sophy has become overweight, ragged haired, and sloppy, as she spends her days eating out of this huge box of chocolates, lounging in bed, and reading the funny papers. Charles remembers back to when he met her via literally hooking her dress on his fishing line as young Sophy, a sort of Mary Miles Minter lookalike with long blonde curls and pretty face, prances around in the river. They share a picnic and a kiss, then his mind is snapped back to reality as the scolding Sophy of today asks why he's "mooning around". Charles asks for a divorce and gives Sophy three weeks to think it over while he takes his grown son, Charley, on a camping/hunting trip. While on the trip he meets pretty 5th Avenue dressmaker, Juliet (Florence Vidor), as they both murder the same poor bear. The son Charley has previously convinced dad to shave off his mustache to look younger, and introduces himself to Juliet as dad's "younger brother". After three weeks Charles and Juliet are in love, and Charles, feeling guilty over his deception, reveals the truth about his marriage and children to her. He goes home and tries to forget her as his wife denies him his divorce. Then we get into an odd subplot about Charles and his wealthy older partner Braddock who go out on a sort of "double date" to this nightclub with a couple of "painted ladies", where Braddock flirts and leaves with yet another floozy there - then gets himself shot by his first girl. Murdock covers the whole thing over to protect his partner's reputation, but the newspapers mistakenly get the idea that it is Juliet who is behind the shooting, then Murdock tries to protect her.

    Review - Well, well - this film left me wanting this couple to end of divorced as they seem SO unhappy, poor hubby sad because he has no love, and the wife looking more like his mother than his wife. It just seems clear from the get-go this is not going to be a couple who stays together. I thought the film to be quite good, but I rate it a bit below the other two similar Cecil B. DeMille films mentioned above. I love the way DeMille likes to show close-ups of ladie's glamorous footwear - how did those gal's keep all that satin and frill on those shoes and hose clean?! Very nice vintage orchestral score composed and compiled by Eric Beheim which enhances the film. The tinted print of this on the Image Entertainment DVD is scratched up in parts, but as a whole quite good. Rating - * 8.5/10 stars *

    Director: Cecil B. DeMille
    Film Genre: Romantic Comedy
    Film Runtime: 60 minutes

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10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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