Forbidden City, The

1446. THE FORBIDDEN CITY (1918-USA). With NORMA TALMADGE, THOMAS MEIGHAN. Directed by SIDNEY FRANKLIN. Though mostly forgotten today, Sidney Franklin enjoyed a lengthy career as one of HollyÂwood’s more successful studio directors. He made The Forbidden City when he was all of 25 years old-and already in his fourth year as a filmmaker, he was to hit his peak during the 1930s, while directing one important MGM project after another. Franklin was a meticulous craftsman, and he was respected for his ability to elicit top-notch perforÂmances from the most glamorous of actresses. One was Norma Talmadge, the great silent screen star, who appears here just before she was to scale the heights of fame. Talmadge is cast in this tender, tragic love story as 5an San, a motherless Chinese maiden. She is adored by one John Worden (sturdy leading man Thomas Meighan), assistant secretary to the United States Consul. The pair share a secret love-and, without Worden’s knowledge, a child is bom to San San. However, according to Kipling, “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”: this couple’s troubles only begin when Worden is ordered away on business, and San San must contend with the harsh behavior of her father, Wong-Li, a deposed Mandarin. Any resemblance of this film to Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly’ is probably not coincidental! Silent film with original organ score, correct projection speed. 72minutes. ÒSilentÓ Romance