7th Heaven (1927)

7th Heaven Movie Review

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7th Heaven Movie Review

7th Heaven is a 1927 silent romance film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. It’s a wonderful, classic movie.

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You mustn’t be afraid. I’m never afraid.

Never look down – Always look up.

I always look up. That’s why I’m a very remarkable fellow!

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7th Heaven Movie Review

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I really like this film and it is one of quite a high number of films that prove how extraordinary 1927 film year was. This is one of the better romances that I’ve seen as it is such an enjoyable, immensely romantic tale of the relationship between an abused prostitute and a low-class worker.

The film is set in 1910s Paris and the reason why it is a great, but flawed movie lies almost entirely in its ending. So basically he goes to war (WWI) and that was a typical, not particularly engaging development and afterwards she gets the word that he’s dead, but he eventually comes back and they reunite. Needless to say, this felt unbelievable, overly melodramatic and maudlin to the point of being ridiculous.

But that is the only big flaw in an otherwise stellar picture. The film features such likable, endearing characters and that is why I felt their connection as they are so charming together. This is in no small part due to a great chemistry and interactions between its two stars.

Charles Farrell deserves more respect as nobody talks about him whereas everybody talks about Gaynor. He is very charming and charismatic here owing to his very good performance as well as his good looks. But of course Janet Gaynor steals the show and this was surely an amazing year for her (‘Sunrise’ is also her movie). She is endearing and she played the part so well that I bought the transition in her character. Both of them were great and especially superb when together.

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7th Heaven Movie Review

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7th Heaven is a gorgeous movie technically speaking. It features absolutely amazing, accomplished set design and that staircase climb is one of the most visually striking sequences in all of silent cinema. The way the camera moves there to follow the action is breathtaking. Ernest Palmer’s cinematography here is simply stunning.

The direction from Frank Borzage is terrific and he surely did a magnificent job here. The score in the version I’ve watched was also excellent and I have to say that the intertitles were my cup of tea here. Not too sparse or overused, but just the right amount and with pretty good dialogue. Certainly some lines were too cheesy, but some were beautiful. The film is also very well paced, it flows so well and is engaging from the first to the last moment. It is such a charming, old-fashioned romance that anyone can enjoy it.

My favorite scenes apart from the aforementioned staircase scene are the first meeting of the two as it was very well done, the wedding dress scene is wonderful and of course the standout is the entire scene where she arrives and their scenes in the apartment were all phenomenal. I loved the view, I loved the interiors and its set design really contributed to such a romantic atmosphere within the film.

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7th Heaven Movie Review

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7th Heaven was the most nominated film at the 1st Academy Awards with five nominations. Gaynor won for Best Actress and that was much deserved as she had an awesome year there. I wouldn’t say that directing and writing wins were deserved, but I don’t mind as the script and direction here truly are excellent. And the nods for Picture and Art Direction were also highly deserved.

7th Heaven is one of the most visually dazzling and accomplished silent movies with superb direction from Frank Borzage and absolutely gorgeous set design as those wonderful sets really contribute a lot to the film’s romantic atmosphere. It has many unforgettable scenes with the staircase climb sequence being the visual highlight. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell are both wonderful here and this is such a beautiful, immensely romantic movie that not even its overly melodramatic, maudlin ending could hurt it.

My Rating – 4.5

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Posted in 1920s, 1927, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, Romance, Silent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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