Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Blue Danube (Honor Above All) 1928

Nils Asther, promotional card for Honor Above All (The Blue Danube), 1928

In this silent romantic melodrama, Asther plays Erich von Statzen, a young Hungarian baron who is called away to WWI on the eve of his wedding day to Marguerite (Leatrice Joy). Marguerite is then left alone to fend off the lies peddled by Ludwig, an elderly violin maker, who tries to convince her that the baron has been unfaithful and she should marry him instead.

Cecil B D Mille was executive producer and a copy of this film is kept in the Library of Congress.

Leatrice Joy and Nils Asther
Ludwig (Joseph Schildkraut) has eyes for tavern girl Marguerite (Leatrice Joy)

April 30, 1928

'BLUE DANUBE' IS SHOWN; Film at the Strand Employs Girl and-Hunchback Theme.

This picture is another reiteration of the sentimental Marguerite theme, made a bit more pleasant than most by the actors in the three leading rôles.

Like its sisters, which are legion, the plot concerns itself with Marguerite, the daughter of an innkeeper, the baron of the district and the village hunchback. The baron and the girl fall in love while the orchestra plays "The Blue Danube" Waltz, but before they can be married the young man departs for war. He tries to send messages back by Ludwig, the hunchback, but they never arrive. An uncle of the baron complicates matters by forcing Marguerite to marry Ludwig. It ends cheerfully, with the hunchback stabbing himself, and the girl and her baron falling into each other's arms.

Miss Joy has the chief rôle and manages to instill a manner into the threadbare character which makes it not only graceful but intelligent. Her baron, Mr. Asther, ranges quite well from tenderness to bravery without losing his stride in the process.

About Mr. Schildkraut, in the difficult part of Ludwig the hunchback, there is something of Germanic symbolism. Ludwig is by trade a violin maker and as he sits and meditates on his love and on his wrongs, the knife and small hammer are never idle. His eyes stare fitfully, changing from sorrow to the glare of intense hatred.

There are in the picture certain bits of good direction—things fading out and merging into others of similar nature. Many ideas are suggested lightly rather than being heavily painted in the "stop-go" manner.

Promotional sheet music for the film 

Poster Tagline: "DECEIVED by those she trusted, she became the spite-bride of the creature she loathed. Don't fail to see this, the most enthralling love romance ever screened."


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