Seventh Heaven  1927

 On the eve of World War One - Two strangers will meet and discover more than they bargained for in the Academy Award winning 1927 classic "7th Heaven." Chico (Charles Farrell) is a bold and brash sewer worker in Paris who comes to the rescue of the down and out Diane (Janet Gaynor). In a city full of loneliness and uncertainty Chico and Diane find a closeness they've never had before. There relationship is put to the test when Paris is bombed and Chico marches off to war. Directed by former actor Frank Borzage this is the first cinematic pairing for Farrell and Gaynor. There popularity at the time was so great that the two of them went on to do ten more films together


This is an exceptionally well-acted piece of work and Janet Gaynor's performance as Diane is true and natural throughout. Gaynor was discovered by Winfield R. Sheehan, general production manager for the Fox Film Corporation. Never once does she falter in her difficult task of reflecting the emotions of the character she portrays. As good as she is, this is director Frank Borzage's film, all the way. This is the Borzage film to top all others. If you've seen "Lucky Star" and "The Mortal Storm," you already knew Borzage was a great director. His "Moonrise" was even better, but "7th Heaven" became the film he has been remembered for. As always, Borzage finds a way to enter upon the scene in the bleakest of situations. We observe the life of a girl named Diane (Janet Gaynor) who is relegated to being little more than a slave to her cruel sister. But when life seems to have a way out, itís quickly dashed and Dianeís sister begins flogging her in the streets until sewer worker Chico (Charles Farrell) comes to the rescue. Chico is ďa very remarkable fellow,Ē as he would say. He may be relegated to the lowest position in life, but he keeps his head high and holds on to the dream of working his way up to street cleaner. Heís a gung-ho, gruff and macho man, bold and assertive. And yet, thereís something more to the tough skinned male and when the police come to take away Diane, he claims she is his wife. In order to save Chico from getting ousted by the police, Diane decides to stay with Chico until the police drop by for a visit. Here, Diane is forced far outside her comfort zone. Her timid and cautious nature makes living on the top floor of an apartment compress a bit precarious. Her servitude is not turned towards a more worthy subject and Chico soon finds the benefits of having a woman around the place. One of the most surprising elements of "7th Heaven" is the fantastic dialogue. Yes, this is a silent film, but the inter-title cards are peppered with well written, memorable lines that are integral to the story. The lines also help build the personalities of the characters and express their growth as characters throughout the film. In a lot of ways, "7th Heaven" is not much different than any number of other romances from the era, but itís the little things throughout the film that make it reach the pinnacle of the genre. The fantastic character development, the rich dialogue and the compelling conflicts make it an engrossing and powerful story.

Seventh Heaven 1927