The Bride's Play ★★★

Young Irish maiden Marion Davies is wooed by two men of opposite attractions. The local lord, Wyndham Standing, is honest, upright and familiar; she has known him since childhood. The visiting poet, Carl Miller, is handsome, dashing, and persuasive. Davies accepts Miller’s proposal; however, she learns that he is both deceitful and unfaithful. Davies becomes engaged to Standing.

The plot gimmick is “the bride’s play”, an old custom of the neighborhood. Immediately after the ceremony the bride goes among the guests and asks each man if he is her true love. All the men reply negatively until she reaches the groom who answers “yes”.

In a medieval flashback sequence, a bride, played by Davies, is forced to marry an older man she does not love. As the bride moves among the guests asking her question, her true love appears, replies affirmatively, and carries her off.

In the present, Miller learns of Davies’ marriage to Standing and appears at the wedding. He steps forward from among the guests and answers affirmatively when Davies asks the question. She is momentarily surprised, but rejects Miller and turns to Standing whose answer is lovingly accepted.

Marion Davies had beauty and personality, both emphasized in this enjoyable film. Davies is elaborately gowned in both the medieval and the modern wedding sequences. Many of Davies films featured her in elegant costumes (presumably due to the wishes of William Randolph Hearst, the producer of her films and her lover.)

The most interesting aspect of the film is the beautiful cinematography of the film’s setting, supposedly Ireland, but actually the rugged coast near Carmel, California. The actors are framed against a background of the picturesque pines and cypress that overhang the cliffs and beaches of the coast. The cinematographer, Ira H. Morgan, photographed several of Davies’s films in the 1920s including Beauty’s Worth (1922), her next film, that also has outstanding photography of the Carmel coast.