The River, of which the central theme is desire, is the most erotic film of the silent cinema. Wreathed with the laurels of worldwide success and with an Oscar for 7th Heaven, American filmmaker of Italo-Swiss origin, Frank Borzage (1894-1962) conceived this work with complete artistic freedom. The immense natural sets were built in the open-air on a lot at Fox Film inWestwood, Los Angeles.
The initial situation is of an Eden-like simplicity: the initiation into love of a male virgin, a man of the woods coming into contact with a mysterious female urbanite about whom we learn but little, other than that she “has lived life to the full” and that she is always monitored by the crow belonging to her lover who was imprisoned for murder. There follow the hazards of seduction and refusal, ruses and inhibitions, endless desires confessed, with many hitches, right up to metamorphosis into love. The whole narrative unfolds on the banks of a river which reveals the nudity of the bodies (sex), the mortal perils of the vortex (passion), the purification and promise of a harmonious fulfilment (the sea). —filmmuseum
Frank Borzage (April 23, 1894 – June 19, 1962) was an Academy Award-winning American film director and actor famed for his mystical romanticism.
Borzage’s father, Luigi, was born in Roncone, Austria-Hungary in 1859. As a stone mason, he sometimes worked in Switzerland; he met his future wife, Maria Ruegg (1860, Ricken – 1947), in Zürich, where she worked in a silk factory. Luigi Borzaga immigrated to Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the early 1880s; he worked as a coal miner there and soon brought his Swiss fiancée with him.
The couple married in Hazleton in 1883, and had their first child, Henry, in Wyoming in 1885. They settled in the Mormon stronghold of Salt Lake City, Utah, where they gave birth to Frank, and remained until 1919. Altogether, the couple had fourteen children, eight of whom survived childhood: Henry (1885-1971), Mary, Bill (1892-1973), Frank, Daniel (1896-1975, a performer and member of the John Ford Stock Company), Lew (1898-1974), Dolly (1901) and Susan… read more
Yes Mr. Aditya, It would be nice to see the entire film, but I have a feeling that adding the plot elements to the fragment that we have would tend to dilute what is perhaps the most intense story of a man and a woman ever.