THE TOWER OF LIES
starring Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer
MOTION PICTURE CLASSIC
"The Tower of Lies' was adapted from Selma Lagerlof's "The Emperor of Portugallia," which by the way, was told in story form in a recent Classic. It is the story of an old peasant and his love for his daughter. When the gal goes away, eventually to be ruined in the city, the old man goes mad and fancies himself the king of a mythical land of his starved imagination. The film version transfers to Minnesota a story that, I imagine, originally had a Scandinavian background.
Offhand, it would seem that "The Tower of Lies" would offer a superb role for Chaney. Somehow, the story grows turgid in celluloid form and gets out of hand. It seems just another variation of the village girl ruined by the local squire.
Seastrom has produced a slow-moving tale studded with attempted symbolism. Even the acting seems stiff and artificial. The whole thing becomes pseudo-arty.
Chaney's performance of the dull, ploddy peasant is carefully
thought out, but it nowhere approaches his other characterizations
of the year. Miss Shearer gives a weak performance of the daughter.
It is her poorest playing of the year. Thus, altho the powers-that-be
set their trap for another hit with all the lures of "He
Who Gets Slapped," they caught only a failure. Hits are not
to be snared on schedule.
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