The Red Mill (1927)

Article 2215 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-9-2007
Posting Date: 9-5-2007
Directed by Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle
Featuring Marion Davies, Owen Moore, Louise Fazenda

In a Dutch village, the maid to a tyrannical burgomaster falls in love with a visiting Irishman. She tries to win him while saving the burgomaster’s daughter from entering a forced marriage with the governor. However, the burgomaster has a way of dealing with those that get in his way; he locks them up in a haunted mill.

Here’s another movie that sat on my list for some time before it finally manifested itself in a showing on TCM, and, as usual, I’m glad to finally see it. However, that doesn’t keep me from consigning it to the non-essential viewing category for fans of fantastic cinema. The haunted mill isn’t really haunted (though I can’t think of why a skeleton is stored in there), but it’s passably scary in the last ten minutes of the movie, which, outside of a couple of minutes in the middle of the movie, is the only time it gets used. The rest of the movie is a light and inconsequential romantic comedy based on an operetta, and I found it only mildly amusing at best. Most of the humor seems to come from the odd dialogue that appears on the title cards, but these get old fairly quickly, and I only found a few laughs along the way. Still, the cast is spirited enough, and those who like romantic comedies might find it their cup of tea. For me, the best moments come at the end, particularly with some of the stunt work involved in having characters climbing on the arms of a windmill. Incidentally, this was made after the scandal that destroyed Arbuckle’s career, and was directed under the nom de plume of William Goodrich.



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