Starring Richard Barthelmess and Bessie Love
The harder the role, the better Richard Barthelmess plays it. In "Soul-Fire," he drops light comedy and minor heroics and presents the best character study he has undertaken in a long time. And it was no light task, this job of making a young musical genius both sympathetic and understandable to movie audiences.
"Soul-Fire" is the picturization of a symphony written by its hero. Its four episodes follow the symphonic form. The story opens with Eric Fane studying music in Italy. His father wants him to return home and go into business, but the boy rebels and sets off for Paris, at the instigation of a dazzling older woman. In Paris he writes cheap, successful music, but becomes thoroughly disillusioned. The next episode takes place in Port Said, where the genius goes down to the dregs, only to be rescued by an unfortunate woman and shipped off the South Seas.
The episode in the South Seas, where the boy finally finds his "great music," is one of great lyric beauty. The romantic scenes between Barthelmess and Bessie Love have real poetry, and both the star and Miss Love rise to heights of greatness in their acting.
Director John Robertson's production has color, feeling and charm. Moreover, he has been most successful in suggesting music by pictorial forms. The photography is not only beautiful but it has imagination.
Carlotto Monterey makes here screen debut in "Soul-Fire" and gives a vivid and striking performance of an adventuress. Helen Ware also contributes an excellent characterization.
"Soul-Fire" is the best Barthelmess picture in a
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