“I’d like to know what you expected to get out of marryin’ Lem.”
When the son (Charles Farrell) of an overbearing farmer (David Torrence) meets a waitress (Mary Duncan) while in Chicago to sell his family’s wheat, the two fall in love and he brings her back to his farm — but can Torrence’s new “city girl” wife handle life in the country?
- City vs. Country
- F.W. Murnau Films
- Silent Films
F.W. Murnau’s next-to-final film before Tabu (1931) was this overwrought romantic tale of love between a “country boy” and a “city girl”. While the visuals and settings are beautiful (as to be expected in any film by Murnau), the storyline leaves a lot to be desired. Torrence is a caricature of a disciplinarian father-figure, heavy-handed in everything he says and does:
He chastises his young daughter (Anne Shirley) not once, but twice, for daring to play with a few stalks of precious wheat (!). While Duncan is a refreshingly spunky female lead, her entire existence revolves around swatting off obnoxious men making a play for her (other than Torrence, who simply hates her for no good reason). Supporting characters — i.e., all the leering men — aren’t given much depth, and the romance between Farrell (who comes across as somewhat dim-witted) and Duncan doesn’t really have anywhere to go. Feel free to skip this one unless you’re a Murnau completist.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
No, though of course Murnau fans will want to check it out. Listed as a film with Historical Importance and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.