Last night I watched the obscure Truart William Fairbanks western THE COWBOY AND THE FLAPPER (1924) and the equally obscure Hi-Mark action-comedy-melodrama-romance THE THRILL SEEKERS (1927), via the nice new Blu-ray editions put out by Grapevine Video. Neither comes close to being a classic, but both are fun for fans of silent program pictures, the kind of thing that would usually turn up at a Cinefest to fill an hour time slot. I hope to have a somewhat more thorough review ready to post in the "Old Movies in HD" thread sometime early next week.
The copy of Rex Ingram's THE THREE PASSIONS (1928 or 1929) is a little hard to evaluate fairly as it had German intertitles which were all but impossible for me to understand properly. In addition, I have no idea how complete the copy was as it lasts just over an hour, and was apparently lost until quite recently.
That said, the film is a very striking one indeed. Shayle Gardner plays a self-made shipyard owner whose Oxford-educated son (Ivan Petrovich) is uninterested in following him into the business. His wife, too (Claire Eames), is a disappointment and spends her time gallivanting about with younger chaps. The son spends a great deal of his time in night-clubs (some splendidly shot scenes here) and is vaguely attached to a titled lady played by Alice Terry.
His Damascene moment comes when he witnesses the death of one of the workers and the dreadful effect it has on the poor fellow's family. Ructions follow a bit later when (after listening to a religious lecture) he decides to take Orders in addition to helping out at a seamen's mission peopled by a gang of plug-uglies including the villainous Andrews Engelmann, who was so effective in DIARY OF A LOST GIRL.
Father then decides to send Terry to work at the mission in order to bring his son back into the fold. But, when alone, Engelmann makes a pass at her, becoming increasingly violent, but luckily... Meanwhile, there is the threat of a strike at the yard, and....
Admittedly the ending is a little hurried and unsatisfactory in parts, but what counts here is the atmosphere, which is superbly drawn whether dealing with the works or the clubs and low-life mission. I was reminded of something when the religious theme crept in and it turned out to be I'LL GIVE MY LIFE / UNFINISHED TASK, with Ray Collins as the businessman father furious at his son's determination, in that particular instance. It would be nice to see this with English titles and a music track, although I think there is - or was - a copy available to buy online.