Master-shots announce the synch-sound as imminent, then bodies in full form erupt with a vivid aural force, harmonized against the blank and steady walls like the backdrops of Dreyer.
How is this film different from a John Ford? Different quantities of sensuousness around the presence of their respective masters. (Greater abundance in Ford.) (Also in Ford: all inflections of human experience.)
This is a film, more or less, about the young Terence Davies clenching his pink fists in tears, listening to The Beatles, crabbing bedsat with woe and complaint and no small measure of spite.
Borzage's neglected film inspires in me both affection and contempt, more sweetly than are feelings of jealousy and supersession engendered, vying, in some by "She's Leaving Home". Within Borzage's oeuvre, it is the film perhaps closest to Ozu's Kagamijishi . A — yes — commercially conceived half-hour of Irish sentimental ballads doesn't just punctuate the last third but indeed effectively obliterates the entire film. This is the purity of cinema that is also the anti-cinema, much more antagonistically wrought, if not conceived, than whatever we'll witness in Warhol's Eating Too Fast  or Rivette's Secret défense [Top Secret, 1998]. John McCormack, a boiled tenor-Elvis seemingly golem'd out of a footnote on James Clarence Mangan, might have seen his career in cinema go far, had the penultimate vestiges of an Edwardian vogue not already been eradicated by the Jazz Age in the years immediately prior. Indeed, and I must admit, this film — in essence an ur-"art" toss-off for Borzage, and one engineered precisely as a "vehicle" for McCormack — makes me "want to find an available woman"*, even as the tears course generally over sybarite knuckles. Every film's got something to it about the origins of America.
" "Tuesday, the 9th. [Mr. Ainsworth's MS.] One P.M. We are in full view of the low coast of South Carolina. The great problem is accomplished. We have crossed the Atlantic — fairly and easily crossed it in a balloon! God be praised! Who shall say that any thing is impossible hereafter?"
[...] What magnificent events may ensue, it would be useless now to think of determining."
—from "The Balloon-Hoax"  by Edgar Allan Poe.