When The Clouds Roll By

2205. WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY (1919-USA). With DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS. Directed by VICTOR FLEMING. From its cleverly devised opening credits to its sensational flood sequence finale, this rip-roaring comedy-fantasy-action tale is tailor-made for the peerless talents of Douglas Fairbanks. He is cast as Daniel Boone Brown, a New Yorker who has unknowingly been acting as guinea pig in a series of hypnotic experiments conducted by one Ulrich Metz. This mad doctor is attempting to prove his theory that the power of suggestion can destroy the human mind and body. Metz has been weakening Brown’s resistance by “implanting psychic games of fear, worry, superstition and kindred annoyances” in his subconscious. As a result, Brown’s health is failing. He sleeps fitfully and is plagued by horrible nightmares. He is constantly late for work and is summarily fired from his job at his uncle’s investment company. Brown meets and falls in love with pretty Greenwich Village artist Lucette Bancroft and becomes an innocent player in a scheme involving her father’s oil interests in Oklahoma. The film’s special effects truly are exceptional. At one point, Brown eats a meal that gives him indigestion. This is represented by onions, lobsters and pie slices dancing merrily in his stomach! Brown’s various dreams and fantasies are inventively visualized, with sharp use of trick and slow-motion photography. The climactic flood sequence is at once thrilling and terrifying. However, no tricks are needed when Fairbanks performs his fabled physical feats, which are as much fun to watch today as in they were 1919. “Silent” film with music score. 79 minutes. “Silent” Comedy