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STOLEN MOMENTS (director: James Vincent; screenwriters: Richard Hall/H. Thompson Rich; music: Jon Mirsalis; cast: Marguerite Namara (Vera Blaine), Rudolph Valentino (Jose Dalmarez), Albert L. Barrett (Hugh Conway), Henrietta Simpson (Hugh’s mother), Arthur Earl (Carlos, the butler), Walter Chapin (Richard Huntley), Aileen Savage (Inez Salles); Runtime: 45; MPAA Rating: NR; TCM; 1920-silent)
“Filmed before Rudolph Valentino’s breakthrough film of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921).”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A hardly memorable melodrama filmed before Rudolph Valentino’s breakthrough film of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921). It was discovered in the possession of the UCLA archives, who remastered it from the recut version that was reissued after Valentino became a star. The original uncut version of full length no longer exists, only this version used to capitalize on Valentino’s sudden fame. Marguerite Namara was the film’s star, but in the recut version Valentino’s part as a Brazilian novelist cad is magnified. These villain roles were the typical ones the born in Italy and raised in Paris olive-complexioned Valentino was given before stardom. Its television premiere was on TCM.

It was shot in New York, with location shots in St. Augustine, Florida and Savannah, Georgia.

Vera Blaine (Marguerite Namara), an aspiring poetess, lives in the South with her young handsome guardian, Hugh Conway (Albert L. Barrett), an aspiring lawyer who is secretly in love with her, and his mother (Henrietta Simpson). At the luxurious nearby residence of Jose Dalmarez (Rudolph Valentino), the well-known South American author, Vera falls for his suave moves and writes a sappy book of poetry avowing her love for him. Jose asks her to go with him to Brazil, and the impulsive Vera expecting a marriage proposal accepts the invite. But when the subject of marriage comes up, Jose laughs it off in an insulting way. Vera returns home and marries Hugh on the rebound. After some time Jose returns to America to gather material for a new crime novel and gets invited to the Conway’s dinner party, where he frightens Vera by saying he intends to show her love poems and blackmails her to meet him. That night Vera sneaks into Jose’s house to get the book, but is discovered by him. A struggle ensues, with Jose pulling a knife. But Vera manages to escape with her book. Later it’s learned that he was found stabbed to death with a woman’s scratches over him and Vera becomes a prime suspect until it’s revealed that Jose was killed after she left by the brother (Walter Chapin) of a woman whom he had violated.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”