Review of Annie Laurie (MGM, 1927) with Lillian Gish and Norman Kerry
Review of "Annie Laurie". BIOSCOPE (12.05.1927), p.44
'IN BRIEF: Stirring story of a feud between rival Scottish clans, of which Annie laurie is made the heroine, with the massacre of Glencoe as the climax. Though no pretension is made to historical accuracy, this is a stirring story of love and treachery, handsomely mounted amidst beautiful natural scenery.
'Suitability: For any good class house.
'Selling Angles: Lilian Gish and the title should draw; beautiful scenery and romantic nature of the story.
'Plot: The MacDonalds and the Campbells are inveterate enemies, the feud being intensified by the fact that a MacDonald has eloped with and married a Campbell. The chieftains are summoned by William III to sign a treaty of peace before a certain date, but Campbell treacherously witholds from the MacDonalds the promise that by signing they will recover their forfeited possessions. Annie, who loves a MacDonald, hears of this and hastens to Glencoe to give the information. The MaDonalds go to sign the treaty but are delayed by a storm. The Campbells profess friendship and are hospitably received by the MacDonalds, and at a given signal rise and massacre their hosts. Ian MacDonald alone escapes and later on receives compensation from the King and the hand of Annie Laurie. Comment: This very picturesque production need not be criticised for its historical accuracy though the climax is concerned with the very regrettable affair that took place at Glencoe at the end of the seventeenth century. When the heroine takes an active part in incidents which occurred some years before she was born and is serenaded by a song which was composed some years after her death, it will be obvious that the author's aim is romantic rather than historic, and there is no need even for a member of the Clan Campbell to be seriously perturbed over an American reconstruction of the good old days when Kings signed blank death warrants without reading them and, if you had a griudge against your next door neighbour, you stabbed him in the back while he was drinking your health. There are some pretty love scenes between Annie Laurie, tripping about in the silk and laces of good Queen Anne's day, and a picturesque half-naked Highlander in a very charming imitation of Maxwelton Braes. There are cattle raids in moonlit glens, Highland reels and the tossing of cabers and cutting of capers, any amount of bagpipes and armed clansmen, and the massacre is carried out according to plan, with blackest treachery anmd superhuman feats of courage and physical strength. It is well constructed romantic drama, reproduced in an elaborate and theatrically effective style amidst very beautiful national scenery.
'Acting: Lilian Gish looks sweet, lovable and pathetic in charming dresses; Norman Kerry is a gallant figure as the rough but heroic Ian MacDonald, and Creighton Hale is polished and easy as the treacherous Campbell. Russell Simpson gives a clever character sketch in the comedy part of an old Highlander and other good work is done by Hobart Bosworth, Brandon Huirst, Joseph Striker, David Torrence and others.
'Production: The chief settings are beautiful mountain streams and woodland' effective castle buildings which are not, however, typically Scottish, and Glencoe under snow, some very effective artificial sets. The dresses are handsome and the gathering of the clans impressive. Some of the final scenes are printed in colour.'
IMDb: 'The story of the famous battle between the Scots clans of Macdonald and Campbell, and the young woman who comes between them, Annie Laurie.'
Progressive Silent Film List (see URL): 'The film was rediscovered in 1987 when a private collector donated a print to the Oregon Historical Society who then turned it over to a national archive for preservation. Technicolor appears in the final reel.'