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OLD WIVES FOR NEW takes a look at postwar mores and suggests that the status quo is no longer so. As the title implies this is a film about divorce and divorce as a solution to marital problems, a then unheard of idea which clearly sets the stage for what took place during the 1920's regarding public morality. Basically a domestic drama with moments of comedy, WIVES charts the course of six characters whose interactions propel the story along while making shrewd observations that are still with us today. The scene where the lead character remembers his wife as she once was is both poignant and honest in its emotions. The cast is uniformly fine with Theodore Roberts a standout as the philandering business partner who comes to a bad end. Just before WIVES DeMille released his most startling and revolutionary film THE WHISPERING CHORUS which shows him following D.W. Griffith's lead in trying to expand the boundaries of contemporary cinema. The story of a poor bookkeeper who embezzles funds to provide for his wife only to fake his death to avoid detection sets the stage for the cruel twist of fate that resolves the film. Along the way DeMille uses a number of stylistic tricks to enhance the downbeat elements most notably the use of multiple exposures to signify "the whispering chorus", those voices we all have inside our heads that tell us what and what not to do. Raymond Hatton is marvelous as the lowly clerk who undergoes a number of transformations before facing up to the aforementioned cruel twist of fate that brings the movie to a stunning conclusion.

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ID9856DS Old Wives For New/The Whispering Chorus DVD (1918/Cecil B DeMille) $24.99 $22.45