UP THE LADDER (1925)
Article 4152 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Edward Sloman
Featuring Virginia Valli, Forrest Stanley, Margaret Livingston
What it is: Romance drama
An heiress sells her estate to raise money so that the man she loves can complete his invention. When he does, he marries the heiress and becomes financially successful. But he is tempted into having an affair with his wife’s best friend…
I read a short plot description of this one before watching the movie, and I was left wondering about the nature of the fantastic content. Not that I doubted that it existed; that was a given. What I wondered was whether the fantastic content (basically, it’s an early version of the video phone) was going to be more than just an incidental detail in the story, or whether it was going to be used in some way to develop the plot. Well, the movie does get some points for incorporating the invention into the story; in some ways, it serves the same function as the similar invention in LOVE AND SCIENCE, albeit with an inversion of the plot of that one. Still, the basic story is pretty obvious here, and for parts of it, the direction and the acting lack the subtlety to make it play effectively. The primary exception is the performance of Virginia Valli as the heiress; she underplays beautifully in all of her scenes, and she becomes as a result the only character we really care about. It’s not a great movie by any means, but it has its moments.