Starring Dorothy Gish
July 31, 1926
If England can produce pictures like this one, the Britishers need not worry about breaking into this market; the market will open its arms to receive them. Nell Gwyn is as well produced as any American picture; Mr. Herbert Wilcox has shown intelligence in producing it. The spectator becomes interested deeply in what is unfolded, and he is amused greatly by the various incidents showing a battle of wits between Nell and Lady Castlemaine. The incident on the stage, in particular, where Nell caricatures the large hat of Lady Castlemaine by wearing a hat of immense proportions, is extremely amusing. Miss Gish makes an excellent Nell Gwyn; her pantomimic ability fits her for the role extremely well. Although Nell is a mistress (of King Charles II), she is so human that she wins the spectator's sympathy an admiration. There is a great deal of pathos in the closing scenes where the death of the King is shown. Nell's refusal after the death of the King to kiss the hand of King James shows admirable character. The acting of all the players in the cast is faultless. The good settings help produce an atmosphere of realism.
Nell Gwyn is a historical character; from an orange girl she rose to be King Charles' favorite mistress; the King had admired her wit. In her position of influence, Nell did not forget her poor friends. Among her other good acts was the one that induced the King to build a hospital for the crippled soldiers and sailors of His Majesty's. Nell had had several encounters with Lady Castlemaine, another favorite mistress of the King's. Before his death the King had admonished the successor to the Crown not to let Nell suffer poverty. But when the King dies, Nell refused to bow to King James; she had sworn that King Charles would always live in her memory.
The story is, of course, suggestive, but it has been handled very delicately. It should prove suitable for all classes of theatres, of all runs. It might not be the right picture for a Sunday entertainment in religious communities.
starring Dorothy Gish
Dorothy Gish as Nell Gwyn in the picture of that name is all very well as far as she goes, but she doesn't go far enough. By that I mean the film ends abruptly, with the death of King Charles II, and a title tells us that to this day the bells of St. Martin's-in-the-fields toll every Thursday in memory of sweet Nell. All of which is true because Nell provided for this tribute in a bequest to the City of London, although the film doesn't tell us so.
The screen version leaves Nell in the lurch. We all know that she didn't cut short her vivacious career when she lost Charles. Why should she have, with youth and beauty still hers?
For the rest of the picture is pleasing entertainment. The tale of the lowly orange girl who captivated a British monarch, checkmated her enemies at every turn and had a fine time generally, is told with taste and charm. It is quite well acted by a cast composed entirely of English players, and Miss Gish employs her talents as a hoydenish comedienne to the satisfaction of all beholders.
"Nell Gwyn" is worth seeing, yes; but it misses being extraordinary. It gives us, however, a new conception of the star.
starring Dorothy Gish
This is the first English production to reach these shores that will meet with the approval of American audiences. Perhaps this is due to the appearance of our Dorothy Gish in the cast. Never has Dorothy done such creditable work, and, as the little impish gamin who becomes a favorite of the King, her performance ranks as one of the finest of the month. Just for grown-ups.
For more information, see "Nell Gwyn" as our "Featurre of the Month"
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