starring Mary Pickford
December, 1923

In looking over "Rosita" (United Artists), we claim it is entitled to first honors because of its skillful treatment, its color and background, its dash and adventure, and the fact that it is seasoned with all the necessary elements for success.

This adaptation of "Don Caesar de Bazan" thrusts Mary Pickford into a romance of old Seville - a radical departure for her. Her transition from shy girlhood to womanhood is accomplished deftly with a surety of touch and poise. Lubitsch, the German chargé d'affaires, has made the pattern so technically perfect that Mary, gifted actress that she is, never carries the entire burden of the story. She becomes a composite part of the dramatic scheme instead of carrying the tale by herself. Which of course gives the picture balance and color. It is peopled with so many figures and detail that one has time to catch the star in a new light. And she shines radiantly in scenes of exquisite charm and also in scenes which call for a flash of sophisticated comedy and emotional display. A different Mary, surely.

If you think that Lubitsch has explored new channels you will be disappointed. He doesn't depart from the regulation American methods, but he does incorporate a German thoroness to the execution of his scenes which gives them more breadth of outline. He doesn't get out of sympathy with the author's design. A stickler for detail and color, he handles crowds in a way that eliminates the usual orthodox arrangement. He makes "Rosita" a dashing tale of a little capricious dancer who sways the carnival crowds with her banjo and a few songs against her king. If Lubitsch is successful with Mary Pickford, he is equally successful with all his players. He seemingly understands their capabilities. he has made Holbrook Blinn act the picturesque monarch after the manner of Emil Jannings - with a suggestion of blunt humor.

A slender plot this picture carries, but its slenderness and simplicity furnish its appeal - an appeal which would b e lost if it were woven with threads of intricate drama. We put it down as an artistic and colorful production.

The same story has been picturized for Pola Negri and is called "The Spanish Dancer." We are curious to see how the Polish actress' version compares with Mary Pickford's. Pola must come thru this time or suffer oblivion.

Video source: Milestone

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