starring Gloria Swanson and John Boles
May 1927

Good girl, Gloria Swanson! Your first picture is a credit to you. You didn't select much of a story; in less skillful hands, all that crystal gazing and reincarnation stuff would have seemed a little silly. But that idea of playing three characters in one was a good one. You were great as the wild, wild opera singer. That, Gloria, is your cake. Keep on playing ladies who are sharp, naughty and a lttle hard-boiled -- and beautifully dressed. All in all, your acting was the best you have done.

We like your "find" -- John Boles -- and also Andres de Segurola. Young Flobelle Fairbanks is a good little actress. Your director, Albert Parker, did nobly by you and the picture. Do you know, Miss Swanson, you are apt to start a craze for girls wearing hair brushed off their ears?

starring Gloria Swanson and John Boles
June 1927

Gloria Swanson's first venture as a producer brings her forth in "The Love of Sunya," a picture not nearly so important as her independence warrants; but with beautiful settings, fine direction, a capable cast, and a role which hardly permits her to leave the screen for a moment, it is decidedly a florid occasion - one that any self-respecting star would order for herself. And one that I fancy audiences, particularly those made up of Miss Swanson's fans, will greatly like. But for all the fine feathers on view, and the four roles provided for the star, the net result is claptrap, unreal as a fairy tale, and shallow as a babbling brook.

This is the fault of no one except the author of the stage play, "Eyes of Youth" - of which "Sunya" is a new version - and Miss Swanson's choice of it. When it was done on the screen several years ago by Clara Kimball Young, it had the same demerits. Now that it is repeated with the addition of superior technical resources, it has gained nothing but technique.

Miss Swanson's first role in a brief prologue is that of an Egyptian maiden who flings herself into a flaming abyss to escape a villain. Centuries later, the villain wanders the earth in the guise of a yogi, atoning for his sin wherever opportunity offers. He comes upon Sunya Ashling as the moment of her greatest perplexity. Shall she marry the poor young man she loves, shall she put him off while she accepts the offer of an impresario to make an operative debut in Paris, or shall she marry a rich roué and save her father from financial ruin? The yogi bids her gaze into his crystal ball for the answer.

Sunya is transported into the future by means of ingeniously imaginative camera effects, and sees the whole of her shameful, hectic career as a prima donna laid bare before her eyes. She shudderingly rejects the career of a singer only to peer again into the crystal depths, and behold herself enacting the tragic melodrama of the roué's wife. Whichever way she turns there is, apparently, only misery before her. But her mind is made up. She flies to the arms of the young man who offers her only love and there is an unexpected solution of her father's difficulties; so the moral is nothing more than, "Be yourself, especially where your heart is concerned."

Never has Miss Swanson been photographed to better advantage than in Sunya's several incarnations. She makes the singer, the unhappy wife, and the girl, Sunya, sharply distinct characterizations, by appearing to do nothing more than believe in them. Her sincerity never wavers. Her skill as an actress becomes all the greater for never being apparent. John Boles, her new leading man, promises to take his place with the best of the profile artists.

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