Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Home Maker (1925) Film Review - Cinecon 44 Screening

Plot Summary - Eva Knapp (Alice Joyce), great at efficiency - her hubby Lester (Clive Brook), not so great. She spends her time running her house, sewing, helming various ladies social groups, and taking care of her three kids including the youngest, a real little brat named Stevie (he likes to do naughty pranks like throw mud all over the porch steps of a next-door house, where lives a busybody spinster who the kid pronounces he "hates"). Meanwhile Lester's up for a promotion at his office, but his manager decides to promote based on efficiency rather than the usual "seniority" method - so - our man doesn't get his expected promotion (and raise), and unfortunately he is actually sacked a short time later. Disappointed, his wife must continue to scrimp and save to get the family by - and, with no job, hubby has strange thoughts of committing suicide and getting the insurance to help his struggling family. When a neighbor's chimney catches fire, he is on the roof helping to put it out when the idea strikes - fall off the roof on purpose to kill himself, and make it look like an accident (the insurance has a clause not allowing payouts when the policy holder's death was via suicide). A failure yet again - he ends up paralyzed rather than dead, and is now out-of-work and wheelchair bound. For some reason, that wheelchair has bound him to the house, so wifey goes to the Emporium where he used to work and asks for a job for herself as a salesgirl. A huge success and loving her job (she increases sales in her department by 40 percent) - she gets a big promotion and big new salary (3,000 bucks a year). And meanwhile, Lester turns out to be great as a "house husband" - his kids are happy as clams, dad turns his children into "pals", he reads to them, cooks dinner and entertains them at the same time - even little Stevie has a sort of turnaround, wipes that bratty pout expression off his face, and becomes a better kid under dad's kindly care. When dad starts to feel movement coming back to his legs, he must stop anyone from knowing for, being 1925, that would mean going back to their old lifestyle (dad works, mom stays home) - and he just can't let that happen!

Review - Nicely directed by King Baggot, I found this silent melodrama to be an enjoyable watch - very entertaining. I must say, times have certainly changed for the better, since now it's perfectly acceptable for the wife to work if she wants, while the husband stays home (there's more than one "Mr. Mom" just on my street). The acting in this is solid and well done (even little Stevie is well played), the story quite an interesting one. I liked this film a lot. Rating - 9/10 stars

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