The Toll of the Sea (C.M. Franklin, 1922)

The Toll of the Sea (Chester M. Franklin, 1922)

This is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time, and perhaps the worst ‘old’ movie I’ve ever seen. This film is definitely hanging its hat on being the first (or one of the first?) technicolor movies. And it probably would have been better to keep this at black and white. While it might have been a grand technical achievement, it doesn’t look great. Additionally, the movie is filmed about as bland as you can get – just static shots of people ‘talking’. (Of course, the movie is silent so there really is no talking.) I think the intertitles got as much screen time as the images.

The execution of the story was also awful. I’m sure the film was supposed to seem tragic, but unfortunately, the film’s initial relationship between the American man and Chinese woman lacked any real emotion. The couple only spends about five minutes of screen time together and when together, they’re as rigid as you can get. The film gets a small amount of credit for the performance from the boy playing the couple’s child. He was quite good for such a little tyke.  2.5/10


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