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Monday, 20 August 2012

A Gaucho in London

Monday August 20th.

I wrote pieces of an article. Lunch at home. I felt drowsy after it, and so went to the romantic Express Dairy in King's Road and had some china tea. Came back in a shower, and by 4.30 had finished my article. We dined at home and then, Dorothy having a sudden desire to see a film, we went and saw Douglas Fairbanks's "The Gaucho". Vast house, quite full - a wonderful sight. Goodish film on its pseudo-romantic plane. Fairbanks really admirable. On the whole tolerable!

Length:1 Hour 36 Minutes
Cast:F. Richard Jones, Douglas Fairbanks, Eve Southern, Lupe Velez

Douglas Fairbanks' The Gaucho is a curiosity: a traditional Fairbanks actioner with decidedly unsavory, unpleasant and uncharacteristic overtones. For the first time in his career, Fairbanks plays what would have been a villainous role in anyone else's film: An outlaw leader who exploits religion for his own nefarious purposes. As the unofficial leader of Miracle City, Fairbanks laughs aloud as the faithful flock to the shrine of the Madonna: he knows that, once they've left, he can claim the pitiful alms they've left behind. Eventually, however, Fairbanks experiences a religious conversion, thanks in part to the love of a good woman and in great part to a deus-ex-machina appearance by the Madonna Herself (portrayed, unbilled, by Fairbanks' wife Mary Pickford). A subplot involving leprosy and suicide adds to the overall discomforting tone of the film. Despite its lapses in taste, The Gaucho amassed a fortune for Fairbanks, who in 1928 could do no wrong at the box office. Lupe Velez makes her first major film appearance as a lusty mountain girl. Hal Erickson

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