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Don Juan

(silent 1926 b 112')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on Byron's poem, the legendary womanizer clashes with the Borgias over an Orsini who has restored his faith in women.

Don Jose (John Barrymore) says goodbye to his wife Donna Isobel (Jane Winton) and his son Juan, but he comes back to find her lover, who is enclosed in a wall. Jose expels his wife and tells Juan he has lost his faith in women. Jose has many ladies. When he insults Elvira, she stabs him. Dying Jose tells his son not to give his love to women but take love from them.

Years later in Rome, Caesar Borgia (Warner Oland) and Lucrezia Borgia (Estelle Taylor) invite the Orsinis Duke Della Varnese (Josef Swickard) and his daughter Adriana della Varnese (Mary Astor) and the Spanish lover Don Juan (John Barrymore) to their ball.

Juan's servant Pedrillo (Willard Louis) coordinates his women. Juan kisses Trusia and says her uncle suspects, and so she must leave. Juan also tells Imperia that her admirer Rinaldo is coming. Juan then tells Marchesia Rinaldo (Hedda Hopper) that her husband is coming. Juan laughs at Marchese Rinaldo (Nigel De Brulier), who sees his wife. Juan says she suspects he is having an affair with Imperia, and so he leaves.

Della Varnese and Adriana arrive at the ball. Lucrezia advises Count Giano Donati (Montagu Love) to marry her fortune. Juan sees a pretty woman and climbs up on her balcony to kiss her. Lucrezia finds Pedrillo with the maid, and Juan apologizes to Lucrezia. Juan sees Adriana and Giano. Juan notices Lucrezia using a secret door. Neri gives her poison for Della Varnese. Juan takes the poison wine, throws it away, and offers to meet Lucrezia at midnight.

In a carriage Adriana thanks Juan for saving her father's life. While Lucrezia waits, Juan goes to see Adriana. He forces her to kiss him, and she faints. When she wakes up, Juan leaves.

In a chapel garden Juan tells Adriana that she has awakened his soul. Lucrezia sees them. Caesar Borgia leads an army to arrest Della Varnese. Adriana must wed Giano to keep Caesar from executing her father. Lucrezia comes to Juan, who leaves to go to Adriana. She is trying to escape from Giano, and Juan sees them struggling. Giano hides, but Juan finds him. Juan walks out and joins Lucrezia in her carriage.

A month later Giano and Adriana are getting married. A woman comes to Juan, followed by her husband, who sees that she killed herself. He curses Juan, who sends away his women. Juan says her husband killed her and has him arrested.

Dancers entertain in the Borgia palace. Caesar tells Adriana to prepare for her nuptials. Giano calls her, but Juan comes in with a sword and dagger. He fights Giano and kills him. Caesar orders Juan arrested for murder, and Lucrezia has Adriana arrested.

Lucrezia visits Juan in his cell, but he rejects her help. She says that Neri will torture Adriana. Juan removes a block and in the next cell finds the husband he falsely charged. Water flows in, helping Juan to escape. Juan sneaks in and replaces Neri. Caesar and Lucrezia watch as he pretends to torture Adriana. They leave to see Juan die, and he escapes with Adriana. They ride a horse and are chased by soldiers. Juan fights them and then takes Adriana to Spain.

This romantic drama portrays the cunning of Renaissance Rome and the character famous for exploiting women. Fantasies are fulfilled when he miraculously survives and is redeemed by finding a woman he can really love.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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