Zaza (1923)

Zaza (1) Zaza (1923)

Run time: 66 min
Rating: 8.3
Genres: Romance | Drama
Director: Allan Dwan
Writers: Pierre Berton, Albert S. Le Vino
Stars: Gloria Swanson, H.B. Warner, Ferdinand Gottschalk
Based on an 1899 French melodrama, previously filmed by starring Pauline Frederick in 1915, in which a French music hall performer, the mistress of a wealthy man, leaves the stage for her lover, then gives him up for the sake of his wife and child.
Release Date: 21 October 1923 (USA)

2 responses to “Zaza (1923)”

  1. IMDBReviewer says:

    Gloria Swanson plays Zaza, a spirited French music hall star who battles her rival (Mary Thurman) and chases after a rich man (H.B. Warner) only to get her comeuppance.

    In a stretch for Swanson, Zaza requires her to portray a French woman in a silent film. Through gestures and facial expressions she succeeds admirably in playing a character unlike any other in her long career. The brazen Zaza is always adorned with the letter Z on her clothing, jewelry, hats, etc.

    The film is marked by a terrific music hall sequence in which Swanson swings way out over the audience and tosses flowers down on various men. Thurman cuts the rope and sends Swanson smashing onto the floor. Later they have a great catfight scene in the country cottage Warner houses Zaza in.

    Lucille LaVerne is the drunken aunt. Ferdinand Gottschalk is the duke. Helen Mack is the daughter. Yvonne Hughes is fun as the maid.

  2. IMDBReviewer says:

    I am not a fan of tear jerkers in which women must suffer because they've fallen in love with a married man. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed this movie, in no small part because star Gloria Swanson treads the difficult performance between misery and self-mockery so adroitly.

    I was just settling into grudging appreciation when Miss Swanson began began to play the piano and accompanist Ben Model broke into "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You". The next time the sheet music was displayed, I checked. The title was "Plasir d'Amour" but the notes were the Elvis Presley hit. I only hope that Ben has a chance to explain it to the audience before the next performance.

    That settled, I began to appreciate the movie again and it grew with each scene. Allan Dwan got superlative performances out of his actors, including the usually boring Mary Thurman. By the time the movie ended and there were no villains, I realized this was as good as a popcorn movie gets.

    I don't know when you'll get a chance to see it — the only known complete copy is at the Library of Congress and there's some blurring and minor decomposition towards the end. However, if the chance, comes, see it.

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