Jump to: navigation, search

The Guardian (05/Dec/1922) - Picture Theatres - The Mystery Road

(c) The Guardian (05/Dec/1922)

Picture Theatres

Market Street Picture House. — The only thing that misfires in "The Mystery Road" is the sermonette, set out in an introductory caption. The story is certainly complex, but this preliminary moralising on the "road of life and love" tends only to confuse, as well as being quite unnecessary. If it has been inserted to throw one off the scent and so retain a dramatic climax it possibly succeeds, but even so it is wholly superfluous, for once the unfolding of Gerald's indiscretions is fairly begun he would be a bold seer who would prophesy how all was to end. Gerald (Mr. David Powell) first has a rather "purple" love affair on the cliffs overlooking Beachy Head lighthouse, all of which he confesses when he proposes to and is accepted by Lady Susan (Miss Mary Glynne). Travelling to Nice, however. he lays the foundations of a fresh romance with a French maiden; there follows a further violent interlude with the Eastbourne lady (Miss Ruby Millar), who is now a Riviera "butterfly"; and then, his last cheque written out to meet gaming losses, Gerald Tesists a suicidal impulse, clasps his French protégée to a crumpled dress shirt, and proclaims that happiness and respectability are his at last. But what of the moral? By all the recognised rules of the game — and keeping that sermonette in mind — Lady Susan surely should have saved Gerald from himself in that moonlit garden, with the lights of Monte Carlo twinkling wickedly in the distance. Her virtue and constancy are, however, not wholly unrewarded. She gets a titled husband who loses neither purse to the baccarat sharks nor heart to the demi-monde. The production is lavish to a degree, and a tribute to British kinematography. The scenes in the Grand Cafe Méditerranée and on the Promenade des Anglais are riotously luxurious, while there is a quieter, more healthy charm in the roadside incidents during the motor journey through the Rhone Valley; the typical estaminet, the gesticulative aubergiste, and the picturesque humdrum, rather squalid French village life.

N. J. N. D.