One year, one film: 1928
The Wind, dir. Victor Sjostrom
starring Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE
Surprise, surprise – another Gish/Sjostrom/Hanson film! I was originally planning to go for variety with this “One year, one film” series but in this case I can’t help myself. They’re just a winning combination.
Gish gives one of her trademark strong performances as Letty, a Virginia girl who is heading West to her cousin’s ranch. When she’s forced to leave the ranch, she accepts a marriage proposal from Roddy (Montagu Love)… but that plan falls through, too, when she finds that he’s already married!
With no options and nowhere to go, Letty jumps into marriage with a rough-and-tumble man named Lige (Hanson). Romantic drama between Letty, Lige and Roddy plays out over the backdrop of an intense windstorm on the prairie.
The Wind is one of my favorite Lillian Gish films of those I’ve seen — a tough decision to make, since she was such an amazing actress! All of the performances in this film are top-notch, and Sjostrom’s direction is expert, making it a must-watch.
Not everyone agreed with my classification of this film as a must-see upon its release in 1928. Who else but Mourdant Hall of The New York Times to point out every flaw? His words:
“Yesterday afternoon’s rain was far more interesting than the Capitol Theatre’s current screen offering, The Wind, an adaptation of a story by Dorothy Scarborough.” (November 5, 1928)
Hall’s issue with the film is that it isn’t subtle. By “constantly call[ing] attention to the wind,” Sjostrom makes the film tedious, according to Hall. For all of his qualms, the grumpy reviewer at least praises Hanson’s performance. Hanson’s talent is one thing we can agree on.
As with It, once again I say, Mourdant Hall’s criticism be damned! The Wind is a powerful film, more than worthy of the viewer’s time.