It. tit..: Il fabbro del villaggio; Sog.: da una poesia di Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Scen.: Paul H. Sloane; F.: George Schneiderman; Int.: William Walling (John Hammond, the blacksmith), Virginia True Boardman (his wife), Virginia Valli (Alice Hammond), David Butler (Bill Hammond), Gordon Griffith (young Bill), Ida Nan McKenzie (young Alice), George Hackthorne (Johnnie), Pat Moore (young Johnnie), Tully Marshall (judge Ezra Brigham), Ralph Yeardsley (Anson Brigham), Henri de la Garrique (young Anson), Francis Ford (Asa Martin), Bessie Love (Rosemary Martin); Prod.: William Fox; Pri. pro.: 12 novembre 1922. 35mm. L. or.: 8 bobine. L: 248 m. (incomplete). D.: 12’ a 19 f/s. Bn.
The two most famous sons of Portland, Maine, were John Ford and the nineteenth-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Ford’s adaptation of Longfellow’s familiar poem unfortunately exists only in a fragment from late in the film’s story, so it’s hard to judge the quality of The Village Blacksmith from these hectic scenes. The wildly overwrought acting, grotesque characters, and flamboyantly expressionistic lighting make this seem a highly-stylized film. The screen story, revolving around a local scandal that disrupts a family’s life, represents a considerable extrapolation from the mostly narrativeless poem. But the harshly Puritanical ambience of the society depicted here, which may have reflected Ford’s jaundiced take on some of his WASP neighbors in Portland, draws from Longfellow’s verse about how “at the flaming forge of life/Our fortunes must be wrought.”