Here is the long-awaited F. W. Murnau film — the successor to "Sunrise." For this picture Murnau took his cameras to the top of a circus arena, since the Four Devils are aerialists extraordinary. Murnau goes back to the childhood of the Four Devils. A quartet of forlorn orphans, they are, trained and beaten by a brutal circus proprietor. This episode is so beautifully and tenderly filmed that it is worth seeing the picture for. And the work of little Dawn O'Day deserves special tribute. A kindly clown helps the children to escape and they grow up to be a famous troupe of acrobats. The two young women love their Charles and their Adolf and all goes well until a wealthy divorcee tosses a rose to Charles in the arena. The boy loses his head over the adventuress and the broken-hearted Marion finally lets herself fall from a trapeze. That plunge brings the Four Devils back together — and the final shot implies a happy ending. Janet Gaynor gives a sympathetic, sincere and touching performance. She has remarkable personality and persuasive charm. Charles Morton and Barry Norton are extraordinarily fine and you'll like Nancy Drexel. The weakness of the film is Mary Duncan's old-fashioned vampire. In dress and direction, the role is exaggerated, a flashback to the days of Theda Bara. Perhaps all the fault is not Miss Duncan's. The film will probably be cut to eliminate the overdrawn scenes before it is generally released.
Photoplay December 1928
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