Barbara Kent

Lonesome (1928)

Lonesome 1928

Mary (Barbara Kent) and Jim (Glenn Tryon) have never met, but they have much in common. They both live in New York City, they’re both single, and they’re both feeling pretty lonely. Mary is a phone operator and Jim is a factory worker and on 4th of July weekend, they’re both invited to join some of their coupled friends out at Coney Island. Not wanting to feel like a third wheel, both Mary and Jim decline the invitations, but after spending some time alone in their respective apartments, they decide to head out to the beach by themselves.

Jim and Mary’s paths finally cross while they’re at the beach and the attraction is instant. They spend the entire day together having fun at the beach and at the carnival. At last, they’ve finally found the companionship they’ve been longing for. By now, they’re very much in love with each other, but when they end up getting separated during a commotion, it’s an uphill battle to find each other again. They only know each other’s first names and have a picture of each other to go on.

I love Lonesome. I recently picked it up during a Criterion 50% off sale never having seen it before and I’m so glad I did. It’s a very pleasant, poignant film with a lot of very innovative things going on in it. Lonesome isn’t a completely silent film, it does have a few scenes with recorded dialogue. It also has a lot of very interesting editing and superimposition, which might not seem too exciting if you’re thinking of the modern editing technology available today. Those types of things were much more difficult in 1928. Director Paul Fejos even experiments with color tinting in some scenes. If you’re a big fan of getting to see vintage New York City and Coney Island pictures and footage, you’re in for a real treat with Lonesome because this has a lot of footage that was shot on location. It’s a beautiful film that deserves to be more well known.

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