starring The Duncan Sisters and Nils Asther
November, 1927

Well, if it isn't the Duncan Sisters! Meet the Girls! Girls, do your stuff. You've heard of these frolicsome kids, Rosetta and Vivian; here's your chance to see them, if you haven't watched and listened to 'em on the stage. The first -- and only -- picture made by the celebrated clowns in "Topsy and Eva;" and, like Topsy, it appeares to have "just growed." But the girls are well worth seeing. Vivian plays Eva -- Vivian is "the pretty one." Rosetta is the grotesque Topsy, in black-face -- and black-face, on the screen, doesn't register. Rosetta's art, however, rises above her make-up, and she manages somehow to make Topsy a lovable, believable child, who goes through fire, snow and graveyards to save the life of her beloved "Li'l Missy." Harriet Beecher Stowe would never know her Topsy and her Eva; but it's all in the cause of fun. Based on the musical version which has served the sisters so well on the stage, "Topsy and Eva" is a melange of the merry and the teary, of old-fashioned melodrama and new-fashioned gags. And some not so new, at that. One scene -- the famous bedside sob-scene where Eva lies dying and Topsy swears off lying altogether -- will surprise you. I think. After all the slapstick which has gone before, it comes as a startling moment of genuine pathos, with little Rosetta Duncan, despite that ludicrous make-up, wringing your heart when she prays and promises to be a good girl. It makes you hope that Rosetta, and Vivian, too, will have another go at the silent drama. So quit your crabbin', Uncle Tom's in his cabin, all's right with the world!

Return to reviews page