Sunday, June 20, 2021

Tonight's Movie: A Chapter in Her Life (1923) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

A CHAPTER IN HER LIFE (1923) is the second movie in a two-film set of silent films directed by Lois Weber.

The set, recently released by Kino Lorber, also includes SENSATION SEEKERS (1927), which I reviewed earlier this month.

A CHAPTER IN HER LIFE was the perfect "palate cleanser" following DOCTOR X (1932), a horror film I'd watched earlier in the evening.

A CHAPTER IN HER LIFE tells the tale of little Jewel (Jane Mercer), who must be left behind while her parents go abroad on business. Jewel is sent to visit her wealthy grandfather (Claude Gillingwater), who had become estranged from her father when he married her working-class mother.

Jewel is lonely but, buoyed by encouraging notes her mother has left scattered throughout her belongings, she tries hard to be loving and understand the reasons that the people living in her grandfather's home are unhappy, including the grumpy housekeeper (Eva Thatcher) and sad relative-by-marriage Eloise (Jacqueline Gadsden).

Eventually Jewel's persistence and kindness brings significant changes to the lives of her grandfather and everyone else around her.

A CHAPTER IN HER LIFE is a simple film, told in just 63 minutes, but I enjoyed it very much. Jewel's story was based on a novel by Clara Louise Burnham, and I found it very much in the style of some of my favorite children's stories such as Eleanor H. Porter's POLLYANNA (1960) or Frances Hodgson Burnett's A LITTLE PRINCESS.

I suppose there are some who might find Jewel's relentless optimism cloying, but I loved her Pollyanna-esque efforts to be "glad." It's a positive and uplifting little movie about the good which can come from trying to understand people and offer kindness, even when it's least deserved. It's the kind of film which left me feeling better for having watched it.

The entire cast does a fine job. Director Lois Weber and Doris Schroeder collaborated on the adaptation of the novel. The movie was filmed by Benjamin H. Kline.

A CHAPTER IN HER LIFE is a new 2K restoration. It has some lines here and there but for a film which is nearly a century old this is an excellent viewing experience.

The two films in the set were enjoyable viewing experiences which were a good introduction to the work of director Weber.  I'll be curious to see more of her work in the future.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


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