Sunday, May 09, 2021

Tonight's Movie: The Delicious Little Devil (1919) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

THE DELICIOUS LITTLE DEVIL (1919), starring Mae Murray and Rudolph Valentino, was a highlight of the 2019 Cinecon Festival in Hollywood.

I'm happy to say that this delightful romantic comedy is now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, and I found it as much of a joy on this viewing as I did at the festival.

Murray plays Mary McGuire, a hard-working Irish lass who loses her job as a hat-check girl. This is quite a problem, as Mary is the sole support of her mother and uncle (Richard Cummings), who live with her in a New York tenement apartment.

It's a bit complicated, but Mary ends up with a new job at a roadhouse, posing as Gloria, the runaway mistress of a duke (Bertram Grassby), and she becomes an exotic sensation dancing at the roadhouse each evening.

Wealthy young Jimmy (Valentino) wants to marry "Gloria," but his Irish contractor father (Edward Jobson) won't hear of his son marrying a woman with a "past."

Mary enjoys her success, especially earning the lofty sum of $100 a week, but in the end all she wants is for Jimmy to know that she's really the "good" girl he's looking for.

In short order the duke shows up at the roadhouse, who of course immediately realizes Mary is an imposter, and all manner of complications ensue. Meanwhile Mary's long-lost father Pat (Harry Rattenbury) also appears, and it just so happens that Pat knew Jimmy's father back in the day...

Murray is really a delight, particularly when she's awkwardly putting together dances on the spur of the moment, inspired by things she happens to observe around her...and what do you know, it works! She's charming, and her mournful pouts over her predicaments are also pretty funny,

The conclusion, with everything put to rights for Mary and handsome Jimmy, is just what the viewer hopes, with a real "Cinderella" ending.  The movie leaves the viewer smiling, feeling better than when it started.

Incidentally, I noted that this print is 77 minutes, whereas I mentioned in 2019 that the film was 63 minutes, the time listed at IMDb.  I didn't notice any footage which seemed unfamiliar, so I believe that 63-minute running time given for the Cinecon print was in error.

THE DELICIOUS LITTLE DEVIL was directed by Robert Z. Leonard and filmed by Allan Zeigler.

The score on the Kino Lorber disc was by Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum.

There are scratches along the sides of the frame which are particularly evident when the narrative cards are onscreen, but for a film which is over a century old, it looks quite good. Most of the film is a yellowish tint, while other scenes are tinted in a sepia tone.  

Blu-ray extras are a commentary track by Gaylyn Studlar; a trailer for Valentino's BLOOD AND SAND (1922); a newsreel of Valentino's funeral; and a remembrance of Valentino by Orson Welles.

It's absolutely wonderful that this film continues to bring viewers movie joy over a century after its release, and I recommend it.

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


Blogger dfordoom said...

I've only seen a handful of Valentino's movies but the ones I have seen lead me to think he's been underrated as an actor. I'll have to see more of his films. My favourite so far is THE EAGLE.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I haven't seen that many of Valentino's films myself, but I was quite impressed by SON OF THE SHIEK (1926), where he plays a dual role as father and son. I haven't seen THE EAGLE yet.

Best wishes,

11:47 PM  

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