The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929)

Genres - Drama, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Religious Drama  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The first of two film versions of Thornton Wilder's novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey begins at the end. The titular bridge, which stands in 18th-century Peru, collapses, killing five people. The natives believe that the bridge's destruction was the result of Divine intervention. Using this as a cue, the film flashes back on the lives of the five victims, allowing the audience to determine whether or not their deaths were deserved. Top-billed as a wanton Spanish dancer/courtesan is Lily Damita, who later gave up her career to become the first wife of Errol Flynn. Originally a silent film, Bridge of San Luis Rey was hastily fitted with an opening and closing reel of dialogue to take advantage of the "all-talkie" craze of 1929. The film was remade in 1945, with perennial "other woman" Lynn Bari in the Lily Damita role.

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Keywords

bridge [structure], divine-intervention, Peru, punishment, sin, disaster