In 1915, "The Cheat" debuted. It starred Fannie Ward and Sessue Hayakawa and was a very good film for its time. However, 16 years later, the plot which had once been pretty exciting was now pretty dumb--mostly because this sort of over-the-top melodrama was now passé and silly. Yet, oddly, despite a few changes, the original plot has been left intact--and makes for a very dated film.
Tallulah Bankhead, who was known mostly for her stage performances, plays the leading lady. This was tough for her, as the character was a very difficult one to put across to the audience. Why? Because she was a stupid and extremely foolish lady--and it was hard to like her or understand why her husband (Harvey Stevenson) liked her! So, when she stupidly gets into trouble and an evil lecher (Irving Pichel) comes to her 'aid', anyone with half a brain would see this would backfire--which it naturally did. However, HOW it backfires is where the plot really shows its great age!! He brands her--seriously!! She naturally didn't like it and shoots the jerk. After doing this, the characters ALL behave irrationally. She runs away (though it was clearly self-defense and she had the scars to prove it), the husband INSISTS on taking the blame and going to prison and the evil man, who survives, testifies that the husband shot him!!! Huh?! None of this made any sense and the viewer will most likely begin groaning pretty loudly near the end--the end result of having an ancient and outdated script shoved down our throats!!
While this is included in a Pre-Code collection, despite the story elements and implications, it isn't really all that salacious...just silly. It's watchable, but don't say I didn't warn you!!
Love, lust, possession, money, social standing, and addiction. Elsa Carlyle is impulsive and a gambler; though loved by her husband Jeff, she's spoiled and selfish, concerned with social standing. Meanwhile, Jeff wants to keep a lid on spending while he completes business deals that could make them rich. One night, on a hunch, she bets and loses big at a casino, then she doubles her problems with more impulsive decisions. Hardy Livingston, a wealthy Casanova just back from the Orient, makes a play for her. Elsa dallies with Hardy, but soon, his insistence and her dire financial affairs seem destined to lead to adultery. Who's the cheat? —
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 18, 2021 at 08:12 AM