Rip Van Winkle (1921)

Rip Van Winkle (1921)
Article 5671 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-2-2019
Directed by Edward Ludwig
Featuring Thomas Jefferson, Milla Davenport, Daisy Jefferson
Country: USA
What it is: American fantasy

In an effort to get away from his shrewish wife, Rip Van Winkle escapes to the forest where he encounters a strange group of men. He falls asleep, and wakes up twenty years later.

I found this one on YouTube, and watched it under the impression that it was the 1914 movie of the same name (it was marked as such on YouTube), but when the story description on IMDB didn’t match up with what I saw, I was able to deduce from the cast list that it was the 1921 version I saw. Both versions starred Thomas Jefferson, whose father Joseph Jefferson made a career of playing the role of Rip; I’ve covered some of the very early silent shorts with Joseph in the role. Had it been the 1914 version, I would have found it a bit more praiseworthy; it has a nice sense of humor and fleshes out its story well. However, for a 1921 movie, it comes off as a little creaky for its year. It was based on the Washington Irving story as well as the play version cowritten by Joseph Jefferson and Dion Boucicoult. A couple of sudden transitions and an abrupt ending may indicate the print I saw was not complete, but I rather enjoyed this version anyway.


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