Starring Dolores Costello, Warner Oland and Charles E. Mack
September, 1927

The purple bathed premiere of this photoplay at the Warner Theater was a brilliant one, even for New York, but the critics didn't resort to any great use of adjectives in reporting their reactions. Some of the reviewers described the film as good entertainment and quite thrilling, while others weren't impressed by the story, Wilella Waldorf, in the Post, calling it "violently melodramtic and preposterous in the extreme." The critics agreed on only one thing -- that Dolores Costello was very beautiful. Contining, the Post's reviewer says that "the piece is laid in and about the Western city at the time of the famous earthquake, and only the presence of Miss Costello and other familiar players in the cast refutes the rumor that it is an old piece of celluloid salvaged from the ruins . . . 'Old San Francisco' itself is one of the silliest pictures ever made . . ." Writing in the Sun, John S. Cohen, Jr., asserts that the earthquake scenes are of particular melodramatic excellence. "Much credit should be given to Alan Crosland," continues Mr. Cohen, "for the clever way in which he has fashioned this bit of lurid melodram. It flows along, neatly building up suspense, and it cleverly provokes illusion despite its cheaply obvious and 'sinister' story . . . 'Old San Franciso,' however, is a good entertainment." Donald Thompson in the Telegram is of the opinion that the film will provide a satisfactory number of old-time thrills "for those who don't object to their melodrama with an earthquake as a chaser." The Times reviewer, Mordaunt Hall, finds the settings quite interesting and calls Miss Costello a competent heroine. But acting honors go to Warner Oland, who plays the villain, in the opinion of Langdon W. Post in the Evening World, who recommends the picture to those who wish to spend a quiet and romantic evening.

Video source: Turner

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