After arsaib's experience, I checked out the whole thread again, to see if you had already written something on the film I watxhed today, wpqx. (Un)fortunately, you haven't, so I'll add a few comments, though the film is in my opinion hardly worth mentioning. As a silent film enthusiast it was nevertheless something special for me.
Nomads of the Nord
(David Hartford / USA / 1920)
DVD, 78 minutes
The film Nomads of the North is listed at a running time of 109 minutes at imdb, but i saw it on DVD with a length of ca. 78. I'm not sure where the information about the longer running-time stems from, but the film seemed already far too long in the version I saw. The direction is pretty uninspired, as the story trudges along to its uninspired end. Nanette Roland (silent moviestar Betty Blythe) is a little girl living in the wild woods somewhere around Montréal with her sick father. She has been waiting far too long for her fiancée Raoul (Lon Chaney) to return to her, and as she does have good looks, and there are other men around her, trouble naturally ensues.
This was my first Lon Chaney film, but it didn't have Chaney the way one would expect him to be, after reading about all of his spectacular roles in numerous horror films of the 20s. Nomads of the North is arespectable though often tedious old-school melodrama, based on the novel by the same name. Unfortunately, Chaney gives a completely lackluster performance, which many claim to be one of his worst. He has absolutely no screen presence (at least in my eyes), and seems completely uninspired. All of the other actors do a much better job, and youz have to ask yourself why he was chosen for the role of a bland hero, when he doesn't even have the "necessary" good looks. Worth mentioning is the formidable photography by Walter Griffin, showing the beautiful scenery in all its splendour (the whole film seems filmed on-location). The opening of the film, and the exposition of the plot is also done extremely well, introducing all the main players and their motifs in a captivating and convincing way. The mood and atmosphere that are established seem very fitting and could have made for a very fine film. Instead, everything that follows is rather stale, and the moment we are introduced to our happy-go-lucky hero, the inspirational streak present at the beginning seems to be lost completely. There are some interesting scenes in the rest of the film, but if you are familiar with narrative conventions in pre-code Hollywood cinema, you won't be surprised by many things. The ending is again done more convincingly , filmed during a real forest fire, where the twom main protagonists were reportedly injured. At least, unlike many modern productions, the film doesn't take itself too serious, and if you are a silent film enthusiast, you should watch the film at least for its first 20 minutes. Maybe if somebody as talented as Hitchcock had directed this, the movie could have turned out a real classic. As it is, everthing goes downhill from the moment Chaney appears on screen. He definitely is the weakest part of this production, and if you are merely renting the film for his sake, it's not worth it. Otherwise, you'll get to enjoy some old school-melodrama as well as beautiful views of the unspoiled nature around the Canadian border.