NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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laffite
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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scsu1975 wrote: February 17th, 2024, 6:33 pm Image

The Lonely Road, directed by Victor Schertzinger, starred Katherine MacDonald as Betty Austin, Orville Caldwell as Warren Wade, Kathleen Kirkham as Leila Mead, and William Conklin as Dr. Devereaux. The film was released in April of 1923 at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Betty Austin and Leila Mead live in a small town. Leila believes in being an independent businesswoman while Betty prefers domestic life. So Betty marries Warren Wade and settles down to a home life, while Leila goes to the big city to pursue her dreams. Betty’s marriage begins to falter when she asks Warren for a regular allowance so she can be independent and run the household. He believes she should run the house as his mother did. Warren produces a scene, which makes Betty stop being dependent on him. She decides to join Leila in the city, and Warren sets out in search of her. Leila has been living a life of unrestricted freedom, and introduces Betty to one of her friends, a surgeon named Dr. Devereaux.

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Devereaux advises Betty to patch up things with Warren and return home.

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When Warren learns of Betty’s friendship with Devereaux, he misinterprets the relationship and causes a scene. But Betty forgives him and returns home with him. Six years go by, with little improvement in Betty and Warren’s marriage. They now have a son, Billy, but Betty still longs for financial independence. When Betty’s father nears bankruptcy, Warren refuses to give him the money that would save the man’s business.

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To make matters worse, Warren reveals he has given his own parents a new automobile for Christmas. One evening after dinner, everyone goes for a ride in the car, and Billy is crippled in an accident.

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To save his life, Betty takes $3000 that Warren had set aside for a business venture and carries Billy to Dr. Devereaux in the city. Warren sets off after her, and reaches Devereaux’s office just as the operation has been successfully completed. Devereaux is consoling Betty when Warren arrives, which causes another misunderstanding. Warren attacks Devereaux, but eventually explanations clear everything up. Warren begs sincerely for forgiveness, and Betty agrees to begin their relationship anew.

Reviews were generally positive, although no one seemed bowled over by the movie. Moving Picture World noted that the film “treats interestingly of a question very much in the minds of women of the present day, whether to walk alone and earn her own living or marry and be hampered by a domineering husband.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “undoubtedly the ladies as a rule will find that this picture points a sagacious moral and it should surely win feminine audiences. The star is well supported, the photography excellent, with many handsome interiors, and the lighting distinct.” Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “one of those pleasing little domestic dramas that Miss MacDonald specializes in. It is a picture in which women play important parts and therefore it will make its greatest appeal to the ladies.” The Film Daily called the picture a “matrimonial drama with some fairly good points but isn’t more than average entertainment.” Motion Picture News wrote “Victor Schertzinger has directed this one into a fairly entertaining picture,” but added “it is unfortunate that Miss MacDonald has fallen victim to so many mediocre stories.” Finally, O. R. Oates, of the Bridge Theatre in Petersburg, West Virginia, wrote “honestly speaking, this picture is as rotten as could be put on the screen. No plot, no acting, not much of a climax, practically nothing but a bunch of junk. Pass this one up or lay it on the shelf.”
I await the day when I read "...the film was released in 1923 and presumed extant."

The review snippets are fun. Some seem rather quaint and some trite but some seem trenchant. I realize that the full reviews are not given.

Thanks, Rich. Great as usual.
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

laffite wrote: February 24th, 2024, 6:45 pm
I await the day when I read "...the film was released in 1923 and presumed extant."

The review snippets are fun. Some seem rather quaint and some trite but some seem trenchant. I realize that the full reviews are not given.

Thanks, Rich. Great as usual.
Occasionally there are some films extant (like The Marriage Market) but those are few and far between. I'm trying to concentrate mostly on lost films or films that are not readily accessible.
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Coming in March:

The Dancer of the Nile, with Carmel Myers and Malcolm McGregor

Don't Doubt Your Husband, with Viola Dana and Alan Forrest

Other Men's Daughters, with Bryant Washburn and Mabel Forrest

Women Who Give, with Barbara Bedford and Renee Adoree
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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The Dancer of the Nile, directed by William P. S. Earle, starred Carmel Myers as Arvia, Malcolm McGregor as Karmit, June Elvidge as the Princess, and Bertram Grassby as Prince Tut. The film was released in October of 1923 at six reels, and is presumed lost. I could only find a brief synopsis, but there were plenty of stills which suggest this could have been a camp classic.

Plot: Prior to the reign of King Tut, the Princess rules Egypt while her father, the Pharaoh, has gone to war. When the Princess is accosted by a band of thieves, she is rescued by Karmit, prince of a neighboring kingdom.

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She quickly falls for Karmit.

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She invites him to attend an entertainment in the royal gardens. There, Karmit is smitten with the charms of Arvia, a beautiful dancer.

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Infuriated, the Princess sentences Arvia to be given as a sacrifice to the crocodiles.

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The High Priest, who officiates at such ceremonies, discovers that Arvia is his daughter.

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He saves her from certain death. He then sends Karmit to her, and the two find happiness in his kingdom, far from the Princess. The Princess then marries Prince Tut.

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Upon the death of her father, Prince Tut becomes the ruler of Egypt, and is henceforth known as King Tutankhamen.

The still below could not be placed in context, but it shows Myers, Grassby, and Elvidge:

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A small city was built in Southern California, covering about nine blocks. Some of the buildings were five stories high. The walls were big enough to allow two chariots to pass each other. The “Hall of Kings” covered 100 by 150 feet, and stood four stories high. The roof of the hall was held up by ten pillars, each sixty-five feet tall. Four thousand extras were used to shoot a festival inside the hall; it took ten days to complete the sequence.
The stills below show some of the sets:

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Critics were not impressed. Moving Picture World did find some aspects to praise, writing “the picture attains a remarkable degree of realism as a story of Egypt and while in certain instances painted backgrounds appear to have been used they have been cleverly executed and for the most part there are no effects which tend to dispel the illusion. The production accomplishes its purpose in being a picture of a people of appearances and customs decidedly out of the ordinary.” But The Film Daily panned the film, noting that the cast “all look very much out of place in mummified make-ups and very unreal although a footnote in one of the titles hastens to advise that the Egyptians actually worse false wigs and beards. … June Elvidge and Carmel Myers run each other close seconds for scant attire. … A lot of things in this that are more than likely to be laughed at, especially the subtitles that make Puritans out of the Egyptians.” Motion Picture News wrote “except for the settings this picture doesn’t measure up as a top-notcher … conventional throughout … plot offers nothing new … acting is mediocre.” Picture-Play Magazine called the film “the best comedy since Ben Turpin’s “The Shreik of Araby.” Perhaps Carmel Myers, Bertram Grassby, Malcolm McGregor and June Elvidge thought they were making a knockout of an historical drama but they were fooled.” Photoplay wrote “scenery is worthwhile only in so far as it creates illusion and brings out the values of a play. In this case it does neither. The actors seem to be competing to see who can give the worst performance, which added to florid titles and poor lighting gives the piece a distinct Hollywood flavor.” Finally, W. A. Clark, Jr., of the Castle Theatre in Havana, Illinois, called the film “a rotten picture dealing with the days of “King Tut,” and who cares about him? No story at all, just six reels of film. The author of this story must have been drunk when he wrote this one.”
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Don’t Doubt Your Husband, directed by Harry Beaumont, starred Viola Dana as Helen Blake, Alan Forrest as Dick Blake, Winifred Bryson as Alma Lane, and John Patrick as Reginald Trevor. The film was released in March of 1924 at six reels. A fragment exists in the Gosfilmofond in Moscow.

Plot: Dick Blake and his wife Helen have been married for about six months. Their marriage is a bit bumpy. When Helen complains about her husband’s driving, she takes the wheel.

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She ends up being pulled over by a traffic cop for speeding. Meanwhile, Alma Lane is decorating the Blake home. Reginald Trevor is enamored of Alma, and is disappointed she will be spending the evening dining at the Blake household. Reginald runs into the Blakes just as they are returning from their encounter with the traffic cop. Helen has a jealous nature. She comes downstairs to see her husband on his knees before Alma, not realizing he is taking a grain of dust out of the girl’s eye.

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As the couple dress for dinner, Helen finds a note in Dick’s pocket.

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It reads “Don’t forget the ribbon.” The note is signed “Madge.” Helen is now even more suspicious, but Richard explains the note away, saying it was from his stenographer reminding him to get typewriter ribbons. During dinner, Helen is icy and rude, so much so that Alma excuses herself. Dick is outraged at his wife’s behavior, and drives Alma to her apartment. Helen is visited by Mrs. Ruggles, whose nature is as jealous as Helen’s. Mrs. Ruggles advises Helen to drive to Alma’s apartment. Meanwhile, Dick has turned his ankle, so when Helen arrives at Alma’s apartment, she finds her husband resting there, with wine and glasses on a nearby table.

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She drags him away, threatening to divorce him.

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Dick demands that Helen apologize to Alma over the phone. When she resists, he decides to apologize for her, but Helen cuts the phone wire. Dick angrily storms out of the house.

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Helen then goes to live with Dr. and Mrs. Ruggles. Things get worse when Dick brings Alma to the house to finish decorating, just as Helen arrives with Dr. Ruggles. Helen orders Alma from the house. Dick’s employer, a wealthy realtor named Clinton, invites Dick and Helen to dinner. Helen, chaperoned by Dr. Ruggles, attends so as not to jeopardize Dick’s business interests, and goes through the motions of being happily married.

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Afterward, she returns to the Ruggles’ home. Mrs. Ruggles, noticing her husband’s interest in Helen, becomes jealous.

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This leads Helen to see things in a different light for the first time. Just as Dr. Ruggles convinces his wife that nothing is going on with Helen, Dick telephones to say “an accident has happened.” Helen, believing Dick is hurt, accompanies Dr. Ruggles to her home. But the accident victim turns out to be Alma, who was in a car wreck. Dick has placed the girl on Helen’s bed, where Helen finds her, in what appears to be a compromising position. Dick is determined that for once, Helen shall listen to reason – and just then Reginald arrives. Reginald explains that he and Alma were just married, and their taxi was wrecked after the ceremony. While he had gone to the drugstore for help, Alma was taken to the Blakes’ house. Ashamed of herself, Helen asks Dick to spank her, and he obliges!

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The Film Daily noted “the star’s performance and her own comedy style help immensely to make the picture pleasing and the comedy business is strong enough to make it thoroughly amusing.” Photoplay wrote “jealousy threatens for the requisite number of reels to break up a happy home – nothing new, but Viola Dana is the wife and Alan Forest the husband – a good combination. Viola has made marked strides as a comedienne and she carries the comedy situation to a successful conclusion.” Visual Education noted “in spite of the artificial scenario, the picture is entertaining, if not taken seriously, for it is well played. Viola Dana makes an excellent jealous wife, of the pretty kittenish type of cinema wives who fly into terrible but charming tempers, shake their nice curls and pound the poor cinema husbands with ineffectual little fists.”
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laffite
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by laffite »

scsu1975 wrote: March 16th, 2024, 7:54 am Image

Don’t Doubt Your Husband, directed by Harry Beaumont, starred Viola Dana as Helen Blake, Alan Forrest as Dick Blake, Winifred Bryson as Alma Lane, and John Patrick as Reginald Trevor. The film was released in March of 1924 at six reels. A fragment exists in the Gosfilmofond in Moscow.

Plot: Dick Blake and his wife Helen have been married for about six months. Their marriage is a bit bumpy. When Helen complains about her husband’s driving, she takes the wheel.

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She ends up being pulled over by a traffic cop for speeding. Meanwhile, Alma Lane is decorating the Blake home. Reginald Trevor is enamored of Alma, and is disappointed she will be spending the evening dining at the Blake household. Reginald runs into the Blakes just as they are returning from their encounter with the traffic cop. Helen has a jealous nature. She comes downstairs to see her husband on his knees before Alma, not realizing he is taking a grain of dust out of the girl’s eye.

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As the couple dress for dinner, Helen finds a note in Dick’s pocket.

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It reads “Don’t forget the ribbon.” The note is signed “Madge.” Helen is now even more suspicious, but Richard explains the note away, saying it was from his stenographer reminding him to get typewriter ribbons. During dinner, Helen is icy and rude, so much so that Alma excuses herself. Dick is outraged at his wife’s behavior, and drives Alma to her apartment. Helen is visited by Mrs. Ruggles, whose nature is as jealous as Helen’s. Mrs. Ruggles advises Helen to drive to Alma’s apartment. Meanwhile, Dick has turned his ankle, so when Helen arrives at Alma’s apartment, she finds her husband resting there, with wine and glasses on a nearby table.

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She drags him away, threatening to divorce him.

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Dick demands that Helen apologize to Alma over the phone. When she resists, he decides to apologize for her, but Helen cuts the phone wire. Dick angrily storms out of the house.

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Helen then goes to live with Dr. and Mrs. Ruggles. Things get worse when Dick brings Alma to the house to finish decorating, just as Helen arrives with Dr. Ruggles. Helen orders Alma from the house. Dick’s employer, a wealthy realtor named Clinton, invites Dick and Helen to dinner. Helen, chaperoned by Dr. Ruggles, attends so as not to jeopardize Dick’s business interests, and goes through the motions of being happily married.

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Afterward, she returns to the Ruggles’ home. Mrs. Ruggles, noticing her husband’s interest in Helen, becomes jealous.

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This leads Helen to see things in a different light for the first time. Just as Dr. Ruggles convinces his wife that nothing is going on with Helen, Dick telephones to say “an accident has happened.” Helen, believing Dick is hurt, accompanies Dr. Ruggles to her home. But the accident victim turns out to be Alma, who was in a car wreck. Dick has placed the girl on Helen’s bed, where Helen finds her, in what appears to be a compromising position. Dick is determined that for once, Helen shall listen to reason – and just then Reginald arrives. Reginald explains that he and Alma were just married, and their taxi was wrecked after the ceremony. While he had gone to the drugstore for help, Alma was taken to the Blakes’ house. Ashamed of herself, Helen asks Dick to spank her, and he obliges!

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The Film Daily noted “the star’s performance and her own comedy style help immensely to make the picture pleasing and the comedy business is strong enough to make it thoroughly amusing.” Photoplay wrote “jealousy threatens for the requisite number of reels to break up a happy home – nothing new, but Viola Dana is the wife and Alan Forest the husband – a good combination. Viola has made marked strides as a comedienne and she carries the comedy situation to a successful conclusion.” Visual Education noted “in spite of the artificial scenario, the picture is entertaining, if not taken seriously, for it is well played. Viola Dana makes an excellent jealous wife, of the pretty kittenish type of cinema wives who fly into terrible but charming tempers, shake their nice curls and pound the poor cinema husbands with ineffectual little fists.”
Good to know that at least we have a "fragment," for a change. Very attractive stills. I would have loved to see Viola Dane in this one. Cute.

Thanks, Rich. Fabulous job, as usual.
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Other Men’s Daughters, directed by Ben Wilson, starred Bryant Washburn as Alaska Kid, Mabel Forrest as Dorothy Kane, Kathleen Kirkham as Lottie Bird, and Wheeler Oakman as Winnie. The film was released in October of 1923 at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Nath Kane is a prosperous, middle-aged business man who likes to cavort with younger women. He is a tyrant at home to his long-suffering wife. He forbids his daughter Dorothy from engaging in parties and other social events. Things come to a head one evening when Kane comes home, irritable and suffering from a headache, resulting from spending time at a wild party with Lottie Bird, Trixie, and a lounge lizard named Winnie. Just as Dorothy is about to drive off with friends, Kane forbids her from going. Dorothy decides to leave home. She arrives in San Francisco, and registers at a hotel where her father once stopped. In short order, her funds dry up and she has a large hotel bill. Feeling lonesome and depressed, she puts on her best clothes and strolls through “Peacock Alley,” where she is noticed by several men. One of them, named “Alaska Kid,” impresses her with his sincerity, so she consents to have dinner with him. In the dining room, they unexpectedly run into Lottie and Winnie, who are neighbors of Alaska. He introduces them to Dorothy, and seeing a chance to get their dinner bill paid, Lottie and Winnie become chummy with Dorothy.

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While Winnie and Lottie dance, Alaska notices the worried look on Dorothy’s face, and questions her. She tells him about her unpaid hotel bill. Alaska offers to check with the hotel to see if they have overcharged her. Dorothy thanks him, not realizing he is misjudging the situation. Before the evening is over, he arranges for Dorothy to move in with Lottie.

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Deceived by Lottie’s air of respectability and attracted by a life full of freedom and good times, Dorothy accepts the offer. On the way home that evening, Dorothy and Alaska stop in the park, where she tells him she intends to go to work at once to pay back her debt to him. But when Alaska tells her she is too pretty to work, she becomes incensed, and the two part in silence. When she enters Lottie’s apartment, she finds Winnie there. Lottie leaves to tell Alaska that her rent is due the next day. Winnie takes advantage of the few moments alone with Dorothy to make a dinner date with her for the next evening. Dorothy, still upset with Alaska, accepts. The next day, Alaska discovers that Dorothy really is earnest about going to work, and he regrets his harsh judgment of her. He offers her a job copying documents, and she becomes so engrossed in her work that she forgets her date with Winnie.

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A few days later, Lottie invites Dorothy to a party given by “her wealthy friend” and other officials of the Verde Grande Mining Company, of which Kane is Vice-President. Also attending will be a man named Carson, who has taken over the company by proxy. At first, Dorothy declines, but when Alaska enters all dressed up and ready to go, she changes her mind. At the party, Dorothy is stunned to see her father at the party. He starts to denounce her, but she berates him for his treatment of other men’s daughters. She now realizes her father’s unfaithfulness, and tells him she is going to tell her mother everything. As she rushes out, Alaska Kid follows and offers to take her to her mother. Meanwhile, Kane sets off to reach his wife first. But his taxi is detained, and Dorothy beats him home. She discovers her mother has gone out to help a friend, which gives Dorothy time to think things over. She decides nothing would be gained by making her mother even more unhappy. Kane is relieved to discover his wife hasn’t found out anything. But now he has a new worry. He has discovered that Alaska is really Carson, the man who has taken over the business, and so Kane fears for his job. Dorothy assures him that she and Carson love each other, and everything will work out.

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The still below shows Director Ben Wilson talking over a scene with Mabel Forrest and Bryant Washburn:

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The next still shows Washburn, Forrest, and Wheeler Oakman horsing around on the set:

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The Film Daily was not impressed, calling the picture “one of those moral lesson dramas that aim to correct a fault of society by exposing the fault flagrantly and with all the suggestiveness and atmosphere that make this type of picture entertainment popular with a lower class audience.” Moving Picture World noted “the theme has not been handled in such a manner as to carry any great degree of conviction or develop any particular strength. Coincidences figure largely in the story which does not at all times ring true, the situations apparently being forced for effect,” but the magazine did add “one of the very strongest angles to the picture is the excellent cast.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “there are audiences that will “eat it up,” to speak slangily, and find lasting delight in its jazzy atmosphere, cabaret coloring, suggestions of illicit love, etc. Others will probably be disgusted rather than amused by the spectacle of the father of a grown-up girl “cutting loose” in the city and disporting himself in the company of a dame of doubtful character, of no character at all, while playing the hypocrite at home. Viewed from most any angle it doesn’t register as a pleasant theme, nor will the obvious attempt to “point a moral” be likely to influence critical folks in is favor to the extent of overlooking its suggestiveness.”
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Women Who Give, directed by Reginald Barker, starred Barbara Bedford as Emily Swift, Frank Keenan as Jonathan Swift, Renee Adoree as Becky Keeler, and Robert Fraser as Captain Joe Cradlebow. The film was released in March of 1924 at eight reels. A complete copy is held in the MGM archives.

Plot: Jonathan Swift, a wealthy fish packer, lives in the village of Kedarville, along with his daughter Emily and son Noah. Also living in the town are Bijonah Keeler, a former shipmate of Swift’s, his son Ezra, and daughter Becky. Becky is secretly in love with Noah Swift, despite her father’s objections.

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When the fishing fleet puts into the harbor, Swift cuts the price so much that Captain Joe Cradlebow, the young leader of the fleet, calls on Swift and threatens to dump his catch overboard unless Swift raises the price.

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During the meeting, Joe renews his acquaintance with Emily, a childhood friend, who attempts to ignore him, much to Joe’s amusement. Word reaches the village that Ezra Keeler has been lost at sea. Joe goes to board with the Keelers to help out. Meanwhile, Emily has gotten interested in Joe, but her father forbids her from seeing him.

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Swift learns of his son Noah’s secret love affair with Becky. He has his son shanghaied when he hears that Becky is pregnant and that Noah had promised to marry her. Heartbroken, Becky leaves home and hides aboard Joe’s ship. Several days later the fleet returns. Emily is at the dock to meet Joe, and is stunned to see him leave the ship with Becky.

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Before Joe can explain the situation, he is called to rescue Noah, who has been shipwrecked.

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Keeler sets his own house on fire, to serve as a beacon for the rescuers. Joe is able to get Noah safely ashore. Swift then agrees to take Joe as a partner. Noah recovers and marries Becky, and Emily and Joe receive Swift’s blessing.

Screen Opinions noted the film had “plenty of human interest and fisher-village atmosphere, tips of comedy, much pathos, and a realistic storm at sea,” adding “the picture presents men and women of character.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote the film “holds your undivided attention up to the last foot of film. Some of the best sea stuff that has ever been incorporated in a feature is shown.” The Film Daily praised the atmosphere and production, but panned the story, writing that it was “weak, draggy, with a poorly developed plot that fails to prove entertaining.” Motion Picture Magazine wrote “if you expect vivid drama you will be disappointed. It is much too sentimental for that. So we put it down as an atmospheric picture, one painting some fine marine shots showing fishing smacks at sea during a storm. The slight plot vanishes into thin air because there is no substantial climax to save it.”
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laffite
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by laffite »

"A complete copy is held in the MGM archives."

Well, that's a breath of fresh air.

Great job, as usual.
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Coming in April:

Forgive and Forget, with Wyndham Standing and Estelle Taylor

Puritan Passions, with Glenn Hunter and Mary Astor

The Satin Girl, with Mabel Forrest and Norman Kerry

Torment, with Owen Moore, Bessie Love, and Jean Hersholt
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Forgive and Forget, directed by Howard M. Mitchell, starred Wyndham Standing as Mr. Cameron, Estelle Taylor as Mrs. Cameron, Philip McCullough as Blake, Vernon Steele as Ronnie Sears, and Josef Swickard as John Standing. The film was released in February of 1924 at six reels. The George Eastman House in Rochester NY holds a nearly complete copy, with one reel missing.

Plot: Mrs. Cameron, young and attractive, is having a flirtation with Ronnie Sears, her golfing instructor. Mr. Cameron has long been disgusted with his wife’s affairs. Virginia Clark, Mrs. Cameron’s younger sister, is engaged to Dick Merrill.

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John Standing, a collector of precious stones, has purchased a diamond for their engagement ring and is showing it off, along with other gems, to the members of the engagement party.

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Blake, a friend of Sears, is pressed for money, and steals one of the stones. Standing announces the stone is missing, and Cameron says he will have everyone searched. Cameron notices Sears putting his hand to his vest pocket, looking frightened. Cameron then suspects Sears has the gem. But Standing persuades him to call off the search. Cameron orders Sears out of the house.

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Later, at the apartment house where Blake and Sears live, Blake asks Sears why he looked so frightened when he thought he might be searched. Sears admits he has a letter in his pocket from Mrs. Cameron. Blake finds a large packet of letters from Mrs. Cameron, and suggests Sears sell them back to her. Instead, Sears starts packing to leave town. While he is packing, Blake steals the letters. Meanwhile, at the Cameron home, husband and wife realize how foolish they have been, and decide on a reconciliation. They decide to go away on a second honeymoon that afternoon. Blake telephones Mrs. Cameron, mentions the letters, and tells her he is acting on behalf of Sears, and that she should come to Sears’ apartment that afternoon. Cameron, who has picked up an extension, hears Mrs. Cameron say “Tell Mr. Sears I will come this afternoon.” Mrs. Cameron tells her husband she has some shopping to do, which makes him even more suspicious. Mrs. Cameron goes to Sears’ apartment, where Blake tells her he will sell her the letters. She is disgusted with Sears, thinking he put Blake up to his. At that moment, Sears comes in and sees what is happening. Sears and Blake quarrel.

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Blake shoots Sears. Cameron arrives and finds his wife bending over Sears. Blake phones the police and puts the blame on Cameron. Cameron is arrested.

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He is convicted and sent to prison. Mrs. Cameron begs Blake to confess her clear her husband. Blake says he will do it for $50,000. Mrs. Cameron gets the money and gives it to Blake. He then says he wants twenty-four hours head start and will mail his confession to her. She accompanies him to a mailbox, and sees him stuff an envelope into a full mailbox. Blake leaves, and while Mrs. Cameron is standing by the mailbox, the letter falls out. She opens the envelope and finds it is empty. Meanwhile, Blake, hurrying away in his car, gets a summons for speeding and is told to appear at court that afternoon. Mrs. Cameron rushes to his apartment at the same moment that a policeman comes to arrest him for not appearing in court. Blake thinks Mrs. Cameron has brought the policeman and is frightened. As he backs away from the policeman, he falls through an open window, to the sidewalk below. A crowd gathers, and Blake’s confession is found in his pocket. Cameron is cleared and begins life anew with his wife.

The still below could not be placed in context. It shows Wyndham Standing, Pauline Garon (as Virginia Clark) and Estelle Taylor:

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The photo below shows the main cast:

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The Film Daily called the film “another rehashing of the eternal triangle theme involving dramatic sequences but pleasing cast, good touches and a certain degree of suspense help considerably.” Moving Picture World wrote “because of its compact dramatic construction, there is good suspense throughout and because of the general idea and style of the production it has audience appeal,” adding “Estelle Taylor has any number of smart costumes which she wears in a way that feminine patrons will admire.” Screen Opinions wrote that the film “has the sensational quality that should recommend it to the cheaper class theatres and audiences that like stories in which the mistakes of a wife and the often horrifying results are treated elaborately.” Photoplay noted “the banality of the title leads one to expect just another “one of those things,” but on the contrary it’s an uncommonly effective melodrama … with several ingenious twists which make it continuously interesting.” Motion Picture News wrote “this is a not original picture play stuff, but it is done in a fairly entertaining manner, with the wealth of incident saving the feature from mediocrity. The plot carries several thrills and a climax that has a surprise twist.”
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

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Puritan Passions, directed by Frank Tuttle, starred Glenn Hunter as Lord Ravensbane (The Scarecrow), Mary Astor as Rachel, and Osgood Perkins as Dr. Nicholas (The Devil). The film was released in September of 1923 at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: In 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, a son is born out of wedlock to Gillead Wingate and Goody Rickby.

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When the son becomes ill, Wingate, not wanting to acknowledge he is the father, refuses to give the child medical aid. Dr. Nicholas (who in reality is The Devil) tries to negotiate with Goody for the boy’s soul in return for curing him.

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But Goody refuses and the child dies. Years later, Goody sees an opportunity to get even with Wingate. She hatches a plot with Dr. Nicholas to bring about Wingate’s downfall. Wingate is now at the height of his power, and is trying to drive witchcraft out of Salem. Dr. Nicholas and Goody conspire to have him accused of witchcraft. Dr. Nicholas creates a man out of a pumpkin-head Scarecrow, and recalls it to life by giving it the spirit of the illegitimate son.

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The creation is named Lord Ravensbane.

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Dr. Nicholas plans to marry him to Rachel, who is Wingate’s ward.

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He then plans to make The Scarecrow’s identity known, thus convincing everyone that Wingate and Rachel have indulged in witchcraft, the penalty for which is death. But the plans go awry when Rachel, with the aid of the Mirror of Truth, discovers the ugly scarecrow beneath Ravensbane’s exterior. Ravensbane, who has fallen in love with Rachel, finds his soul, which breaks The Devil’s spell. Ravensbane sacrifices his own life.

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Rachel then realizes her real love was for Richard Talbot, who was Ravensbane’s rival for her affections. Wingate is sent to the gallows, and Dr. Nicholas and Goody disappear.

Motion Picture News wrote “this picture is decidedly out of the beaten path,” adding “as a whole, it is artistic in a high degree, produced in a very intelligent and effective manner, and acted by an excellent cast. Glenn Hunter, in the role of The Scarecrow, handles a difficult role well. But the real acting honors must go to Osgood Perkins, whose delineation of a very human devil is a vivid and compelling characterization. … Mary Astor … appears to splendid advantage.” Screen Opinions wrote “Mary Astor has never played as charmingly nor looked as lovely as she does in this picture, and Glenn Hunter plays the role of the scarecrow man, Lord Ravensbane, intelligently. … One of the best performances of the picture is given by Osgood Perkins.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “here is an unusual picture – so unusual, in fact that its value is problematical. It will prove either a sensation or a flop with the chances in favor of the sensation if proper use is made of the many exploitation angles. … While the picture ostensibly stars Glenn Hunter, his role and its portrayal pales into insignificance when compared to the work of Osgood Perkins, practically a newcomer in pictures, who in the vernacular of the industry, “steals the picture.”” Exhibitor’s Trade Review noted the film would “appeal to the student of imagination, artistry and the hypocrisy of humans – and certainly to those who desire their entertainment without the customary touch of realism and something quite different in screencraft themes.” The Film Daily called the film an “absorbing, somewhat somber production splendidly mounted with particular appeal to more intelligent audiences.” Moving Picture World agreed, noting the film was “an interesting allegorical picture, well produced and finely acted, which, because of the nature of the story, should have its greatest appeal to the more intelligent and discriminating clienteles.” Not everyone was thrilled, however. Joe Blaschke, of the Wapato Theatre in Wapato, Washington, stated “absolutely impossible. Picture was booked for two nights but showed it only one. Seven reels of junk.” I guess Blaschke’s clientele were neither “intelligent” nor “discriminating.”

Osgood Perkins, a native of Newton, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard, and served in the Army in France during World War I. He married Janet Rane, and the couple had one son, Anthony, who also went into acting. (Hmm … wonder how Anthony’s career turned out?) In September of 1937, Perkins appeared in the opening performance of “Susan and God,” a comedy-drama, which co-starred Gertrude Lawrence. He had complained of indigestion earlier in the evening, but felt well enough to go on with the show. After the play, he and his wife were chatting in their hotel room, and he said to her “I like that role. I hope the play never closes.” A short time later, he stepped into the bathroom, and his wife heard him fall. The house physician pronounced him dead, from a heart attack.
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scsu1975
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

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The Satin Girl, directed by Arthur Rosson, starred Mabel Forrest as Lenore Vance, Norman Kerry as Dr. Richard Taunton, Marc McDermott as Fargo, and Clarence Burton as Moran. The film’s release date is uncertain, but it was six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Silas Gregg, a wealthy miser, sits at his library table reading a letter. The writer, who was in love with Gregg’s wife, informs Gregg that he is going to claim revenge for the way he mistreated the woman until she died. When Dr. Richard Taunton arrives, pleading that Gregg’s tenants need help meeting their rent, the miser, while badly frightened by the letter, refuses to help out. So Taunton decides to advance his own money to help out the tenants. Gregg’s daughter, at the head of the stairs, sees Taunton, but he does not see her. After Taunton leaves, a dim figure enters the house, and finds Gregg alone. Both men draw revolvers and fire, and Gregg falls. His daughter comes running down the stairs and screams “Father, what was that shot?” She sees the dim figure and backs up, striking a pedestal holding a heavy vase. The vase falls and hits her on the head. She drops to the floor, and the dim figure bends over her. A year later, Dr. Taunton and Moran, a detective, are discussing a mysterious woman who robs the rich and gives to the poor. Moran has dubbed her “The Satin Girl,” since the only evidence he has is a piece of satin from her dress. In fact, The Satin Girl is under the hypnotic control of Fargo, a strange character.

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A house party is held at the Brown-Potter residence, thrown by Mrs. Brown-Potter and her daughter Sylvia. Attendees include Taunton, Norton Pless, a budding novelist who is writing a story about The Satin Girl, and Moran, who is watching the jewels being worn at the party. Another attendee, Lenore Vance, catches the attention of both Taunton and Pless, which causes Sylvia to be jealous. Lenore dances with Pless, and he begs her for a kiss. She replies “surely not in the light.” Pless switches off the lights and kisses her. She breaks free for a moment, and then returns to him. When the lights come back on, Mrs. Brown-Potter discovers her famous diamonds are gone. Moran insists everyone be searched, but the diamonds are not found. Moran concludes The Satin Girl has struck again. Lenore offers to give Moran a ride back to town. He carries her bag, unaware that the diamonds are inside it and that Lenore is The Satin Girl.

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Fargo then forces Lenore to steal a valuable ruby from Taunton. Having fallen for Taunton, Lenore refuses to give Fargo the gem, but he takes it and orders her to steal some money from Taunton. One of Fargo’s henchmen, Harg, is assigned to throw a smoke bomb and start a fire alarm so that Lenore can get the money while Taunton is out. But Lenore decides to give herself up, and allows herself to be caught by Taunton in the act of stealing his money.

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At the same time, Moran catches Harg. Lenore faints, and when she comes to, she calls out Fargo’s name. Taunton suspects that Lenore is The Satin Girl, and that there is some mysterious force behind her actions. He leaves Lenore in the care of his nurse and goes to her apartment. Moran gets information from Harg and heads for the same place. Lenore escapes from the nurse and heads to her apartment as well. There, Taunton encounters Fargo. Lenore enters just as Fargo tries to shoot Taunton. The bullet hits Lenore, and Fargo, believing he has killed her, cries out that she is innocent, and that he alone is responsible. Moran arrives, and is about to arrest Lenore, who is only slightly wounded but unconscious. Fargo vanishes into another room. Lenore, regaining her senses, cries out “Daddy, what was that shot?” Lenore has reverted to her former self – Silas Gregg’s daughter. Everything that has happened since her father’s murder is a blank. Taunton tells Moran he cannot hold her responsible for any crimes which she cannot remember having committed. Moran goes after Fargo and finds him dead, holding a picture of Lenore’s mother. Thus, Fargo was the man who killed Silas Gregg, who was, in fact, his brother. Lenore tells Taunton this has been like a horrible dream. In fact, the story turns out to be a novel which Lenore has been reading, in which she has visualized herself and Taunton as the leading characters!

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Variety was impressed, calling the film an “excellent program picture, with action that swings along at a fast, smooth gait, holding every minute the interesting mystery story is unfolding,” adding “sliding cellar doors, dark, mysterious underground chambers, stealthy footsteps, shadowy goings and comings and all the rest of the mystery technic have been deftly interwoven in the yarn.” The Film Daily labelled the film a “rather interesting crook story that, while not particularly original, has some good situations.” Moving Picture World noted “the story is naturally unconvincing and belongs to the type that cannot be taken too seriously. Themes of this kind, however, have a strange fascination for a large number of spectators, who will be fascinated in watching the development of the action.” Billboard completely trashed the production, calling it “a weak, improbable story, acted, with one exception, most execrably, and directed with the lack of intelligence and the crudity that might be expected from a truck driver.” The reviewer took particularly aim at Mabel Forrest, writing “if there is any other actress in the pictures with less right to be starred than Miss Forrest it has been this reviewer’s good fortune not to have come across her. She is utterly without the ability to express intelligently any emotion. Her performance gives the impression that she is being mechanically operated.”
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laffite
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Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by laffite »

The reviewer of that execrably scathing review of Miss Forrest ought to be named for posterity. She might be as bad as all that but she nevertheless needs a name so that her ancestors can have a target for retribution or even revenge. On the other hand, the wordage is one of the most brilliant and entertaining take downs in the literature of criticism. : - )))
Catherine Deneuve in The Murri Affaire
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scsu1975
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Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

laffite wrote: April 21st, 2024, 11:57 am The reviewer of that execrably scathing review of Miss Forrest ought to be named for posterity. She might be as bad as all that but she nevertheless needs a name so that her ancestors can have a target for retribution or even revenge. On the other hand, the wordage is one of the most brilliant and entertaining take downs in the literature of criticism. : - )))
The reviewer was named H.E. Shumlin. It is possible this is Herbert Elliot Shumlin, who later directed Watch on the Rhine.

Here is a sample of what he wrote about the screenwriter for The Satin Girl:

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