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Thursday October 02, 2014
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Easy Virtue

 

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introduced by executive director Russ Collins, have attracted a new generation to films that just are not suited to the Netflix medium. But the real draw for film buffs will be the rarities, including a group of silent films Hitchcock made in London in the 1920s.

One of these is the melodrama Easy Virtue (1928), loosely based on a play by Noel Coward. The film was lost until the late 1970s, and the Michigan will be showing it in a restored version on April 20. Do not fret about the irony of a silent film treatment of a work by one of British drama's great dialogue writers. Hitchcock and screenwriter Eliot Stannard radically alter Coward's story of a divorcee, Larita Filton, whose marriage to an abusive alcoholic dissolved in a well-publicized violent scene, and who now seeks tranquility in a marriage to the scion of a high-society British country family. The story is told through images, not dialogue, and narratively complicating details from the play, such as Larita's American origins, are eliminated.

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