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NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)


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From August 10-12, 1922, the Poli ran Bits of Life, an unusual film consisting of four unrelated stories. The film was released in September of 1921 at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Episode 1, “The Bad Samaritan,” featured Wesley Barry as the young Tom Levitt, and Rockcliffe Fellows as the grown Tom Levitt.

Plot: Tom Levitt, the mistreated half-breed son of a Chinese laundryman and a white woman, is sold to a Russian junkman, who continues the mistreatment.

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When Tom reaches manhood, he turns to a life of crime.

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One of his former pals, just released from prison, visits him and tells him he is going straight and asks for money so he can leave town. As the pair go out to get the money, they see a young man rushing out of a park, stuffing a wallet in his pocket. Tom takes it away from the thief. Then Tom and his friend stop to listen to a street preacher telling the story of the Good Samaritan. Tom ridicules the preacher. Shortly afterward, Tom hears a cry for help, and sees a wounded man behind a fence. The story of the Good Samaritan enters his mind, and he helps the man to his feet. But the victim, mistaking Tom for his assailant, seizes him and calls the police.

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Tom is arrested when the stolen wallet is found on him. Tom ruefully discovers that his downfall occurred due to the fact that he turned Good Samaritan.

Episode 2, “The Man Who Heard Everything,” featured Frederick Burton as Ed Johnson.

Plot: Ed Johnson, a barber, is deaf, but happy in the belief that his wife loves him.

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One day he comes into possession of an instrument which restores his hearing. Then he learns that the people he has befriended are not what he thinks they are, and that his wife has been unfaithful to him.

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Instead of being a blessing, the instrument which has restored his hearing has been a curse. He destroys the device.

Episode 3, “Hop,” featured Lon Chaney as Chin Gow and Anna May Wong as Toy Sing.

Plot: Chin Gow’s father is happy when the boy is born, as it is believed male babies bring luck. Chin Gow has seen three of his sisters thrown into the Canton River, due to the superstition that female babies are unlucky. Chin Gow leaves home and goes to San Francisco, where he soon owns a dozen opium dens.

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He falls in love with Toy Sing, pretends he has reformed, and wins her heart.

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After he returns from trip to New York, he learns his wife has given birth.

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When he discovers it is a girl, he beats his wife and vows to kill the child.

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As he leaves the room his wife’s friend enters with a crucifix, sent by a priest as protection. The friend nails the crucifix to the wall with a long spike. Suddenly, blood starts running down the wall. The spike has penetrated the skull of Chin Gow, who, in an opium stupor, was on the other side of the wall.

Episode 4, “The Intrigue,” featured John Bowers as Reginald Vandebrook, Harriet Hammond as the Princess, and Noah Beery, Sr., as the Hindu villain.

Plot: Reginald Vandebrook, touring the world in his yacht, reaches a foreign land where he falls in love with a stranger.

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He hears her called a princess, and discovers her following a Hindu into a building.

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He rushes in to rescue her, but a horde of Hindus rush into the room. The girl pleads with them to spare his life, but one of them plunges a dagger into his chest. Reginald awakens from an anesthetic in a dentist’s chair, the dentist resembling the killer, and his assistant resembling the princess.

In assembling the film, Director Marshall Neilan penned an open letter to exhibitors, asking four questions. “How many times have motion picture patrons come into a theatre in the middle of a feature and become disgruntled because they had to sit through five or six reels before they knew what the story was about? How many times have they been compelled to wait until the entire balance of the program was shown until the feature again appeared, before they could identify the characters introduced in the early part of every feature and establish the plot of the story? How many times has the exhibitor wished he could supply with one production the demand of all the different appetites of the prospective patrons of his theatre? A picture that would present a melodrama, a comedy-drama, a satire, and farce, and even an “unhappy ending” for those who insist upon realism in pictures – and still have a picture that would not leave a bad taste in the mouth? And finally, how many times have exhibitors wished they could show a picture that would present even in the minor parts well known players?”

Motion Picture News praised the film, writing it was a “feature for people who pretend to have a little grey matter in their upper story or at least enough so they are willing to dispense for once with the sticky romance and the cut and dried style of construction of the average multiple reel picture.” Wid’s Daily was also positive, calling the film a “very interesting novelty which, while episodic, proves very fine screen material.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “the picture affords good entertainment and its originality of construction should win popular favor.”

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From April 13-16, 1922, the Poli ran The Man Unconquerable, starring Jack Holt as Robert Kendall, Sylvia Breamer as Rita Durand, Clarence Burton as Nilsson, and Jean De Briac as Perrier. The film was released on July 2, 1922, at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Robert Kendall inherits pearl fisheries on an island in the South Pacific. The fisheries are being managed by a weak-willed clerk named Leach, who is manipulated by Nilsson, a ruffian. Pearls are being stolen, so Kendall goes to investigate. Along the way, Kendall stops off in Papeete. There, while trying to swat a fly which is annoying him, he catches the eye of Rita Durand when he swats the fly while it is resting on the head a bald gentleman. Rita comes to his defense when he is threatened with arrest, by claiming the other man insulted her. He also meets her father, and a man named Perrier. Durand has been badly treated by Nilsson and urges Kendall to have the man arrested. But Kendall gets no cooperation from the governor of the island, who is in cahoots with Nilsson. When Durand is taken ill, Rita comes to the island to care for him, and berates Kendall for not having Nilsson arrested.

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Kendall gets into a fight with Nilsson and fires him.

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Nilsson, Perrier, and the governor plot to get Kendall off the island. They poach his waters, but Kendall fires a machine gun at their boats. Since one of the craft belongs to Durand, Kendall gets in hot water with him. Nilsson and Perrier find a pearl worth ten thousand dollars, but when Durand finds out about it, they hand it over to him. Durand then shows the pearl to Kendall, and the two make amends. Nilsson breaks into Durand’s room to steal the pearl. Durand awakens, and Nilsson stabs him to death. Perrier tries to throw suspicion onto Kendall, although he does not know Nilsson is the real killer. As he wanders along the shore, Kendall finds the empty box that contained the pearl. He suspects Perrier and Nilsson of the murder. A pearl buyer named Michaels arrives. Kendall overhears Nilsson talking about the crime. At gunpoint, Kendall forces Michaels to hand over the pearl. Nilsson and Perrier lie in wait for Kendall, and shoot him. When Kendall falls, Perrier rushes to Rita’s home and tells her that Kendall killed her father, and that Perrier shot Kendall in self-defense. Rita is grief stricken. But Kendall has only been slight injured, and goes to Rita’s home armed with a gun.

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When Nilsson tries to shoot him, Kendall shoots back and kills his enemy. Perrier grabs Rita and takes her into a secret passageway. Kendall holds his fire for fear of striking Rita. He breaks down the door and kills Perrier with his bare hands. Michaels testifies that Nilsson and Perrier were behind the crime. Kendall and Rita find happiness together.

The stills below could not be placed in context. The first shows Holt:

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The next shows Sylvia Breamer with Holt:

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The last shows Holt with an unidentified actor:

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The pearl fishery scenes were filmed at Balboa Beach. An alert viewer spotted some errors during the scene where Holt machine-guns the boats. In a close-up of the gun, two bullets are shown left in the clip, yet a steady stream of firing continues. The next close-up shows about fifteen bullets in the clip. Then, when crew members are shown jumping off the sinking boat, they are not wearing hats, but when they reach shore, many of them are.

Exhibitor’s Herald wrote that the film had “several unique twists to the plot and there is action enough to suit the most rabid melodrama hound.” The Film Daily called the film “first rate adventure offering with some real looking fights and villainous plotting comprising the action … another good vehicle for Holt.” Motion Picture News wrote “here is melodrama straight from the shoulder – the action starting immediately after the leader and continuing without interruption through the climax. … Jack Holt earns his salary here. He has to work hard every minute.” Moving Picture World wrote “with a thrill a minute this play rushes along from its beginning to the end filled with a multitude of virile, gripping episodes in which Jack Holt shows up truly as “The Man Unconquerable.” Nothing daunts him when he gets his two trusty fists into action, no gang of desperadoes is too desperate for him to tackle, and with a few wrestling holds and some hefty wallops he fights his way through the thrilling film leaving a trail of battered “villains” in his wake.” But Photoplay panned the film, writing “Jack Holt seems just as bored as his audience with this impossible vehicle. And while half the women in the United States dearly love to see Jack Holt act bored, still five reels of it is somewhat tiresome. Why waste Holt on such stuff?”

Also on the bill was a two-reel comedy short, Torchy Steps Out, starring Johnny Hines as Torchy. This was one of several “Torchy” shorts Hines made in the 1920s, and is presumed lost. C. C. Burr, who  produced the short, reportedly spent as much money on the sets as he did for the Hines feature film Burn ‘Em Up Barnes (reviewed some time ago in this thread). For this short, sets included the exterior of a Gothic Cathedral, a Chop Suey restaurant, and a shoe store. The plot has Hines breaking in a pair of shoes for his boss. When Torchy goes for a walk, he gets stuck in wet cement. He goes to a shoe store and works as a clerk so he can buy another pair for his boss. On the way back, he ends up locked in a moving van which includes all the amenities of a home, including a parrot. With the van headed for Philadelphia, the driver and his partner, who want revenge against their boss, decide to blow it up and then burn it, but Torchy foils their plans.
 

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From August 17-19, 1922, the Poli ran Sisters, starring Seena Owen as Alix Strickland, Gladys Leslie as Cherry Strickland, Matt Moore as Peter Joyce, and Joe King as Martin Lloyd. The film was released on April 2, 1922, at seven reels. The Library of Congress holds a complete copy.

Plot: Dr. Strickland has two daughters; Alix, the eldest, and Cherry.

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Anne, the doctor’s niece, also lives with them. Their neighbor, Peter Joyce, has been like a brother to the three girls for years, and he secretly loves Cherry. Anne’s beau is Martin Lloyd, but Martin falls for Cherry.

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Cherry and Martin are married.

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Anne marries an unscrupulous lawyer. Peter tells Alix he is taking a trip around the world to “forget a woman.” Dr. Strickland dies, and his fortunate is divided equally between Cherry, Alix, and Anne. Anne discovers that her father, Strickland’s brother, had loaned Strickland money, but that it was never repaid. So her husband puts in a claim against the estate, which leaves Alix and Cherry less inheritance than they thought. Meanwhile, Martin has been working in a lumber town, making little money, and Cherry has become disillusioned with her marriage. Peter returns from his trip. He and Alix decide to marry to escape loneliness. Cherry leaves Martin and comes to Alix’s home.

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Alix tries to persuade Cherry to return to Martin, but Peter sides with Cherry.

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Later, Peter confesses his love to Cherry. Martin shows up and insists Cherry return with him, but Cherry tells him she does not love him. A short later, Alix overhears Cherry and Peter plotting to run away the next morning. She sits up all night and intercepts them before they can leave. Alix upbraids her sister for being selfish and spoiled. Then words reaches them that Martin has been injured at the camp. Cherry runs to her husband and nurses him day and night, determined to make the marriage work. Peter, humiliated by his actions, tells Alix the only decent thing he can do is leave her so she is free. Alix tells Peter that no one can free anyone from the vow of marriage, nor can anyone run away from it. The two pledge to make their marriage work.

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The still below could not be placed in context. It shows Moore, Owens, Tom Guise (as Dr. Strickland) and an unidentified canine:

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The story was based upon a novel by Kathleen Harris, which was serialized in Good Housekeeping magazine.

Moving Picture World praised the film, calling it “one of the best pictures on the marriage theme that has been available to exhibitors for some time. It realizes the distinction of being popular without, in any sense, being common. Its universal appeal to women goes almost without saying, and it is almost as safe to predict that men will fine certain entertainment here.” Exhibitor’s Herald agreed, calling the film “a refreshing little home drama that will appeal to audiences seeking clean, wholesome entertainment.” The Film Daily was not impressed, calling the film “too long drawn out to hold the attention all the time,” while complimenting Seena Owens’ performance, writing “the part gains a fine sympathy for her and is responsible for much of the feature’s heart interest.” Motion Picture News was more positive, writing “interesting, indeed, are the portrayals of the true-to-life characters often found in the comfortable American family; father devoted to his profession, vain, selfish and pretty younger sister, strong, purposeful, boyish and unselfish older one,” adding “comedy relief, for this otherwise depressing drama of life, is supplied by characters of negro servants.”

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From August 20-23, 1922, the Poli ran The Woman in His House, starring Mildred Harris Chaplin as Hilda Emerson, Ramsey Wallace as Dr. Philip Emerson, Thomas Holding as Peter Marvin, and George Fisher as Bob Livingston. The film was released in August of 1920 at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Dr. Philip Emerson and his friend, Peter Marvin, are vacationing on the east coast of Canada. There, Emerson meets Hilda, a young girl mourning the recent death of her mother. Hilda has a hunchbacked faithful servant named Sigurd, whom she has known since childhood.

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Hilda and Emerson marry, but Sigurd is against the union and even tries to kill Emerson.

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Emerson and Hilda return to New York, where Emerson established himself as a famous surgeon. Emerson eventually begins to neglect his wife, while working late in his laboratory with a female assistant. This arouses suspicion in Hilda.

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Hilda gives birth to a son, Philip Jr., but is still neglected. Bob Livingston, a home wrecker, shows an interest in Hilda.

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An epidemic of infantile paralysis sweeps the city. As Emerson works among the sufferers, his own son is stricken. He returns home to the news that his son is dead and Hilda is in shock. However, Emerson discovers the child is not dead, but will be hopelessly paralyzed. Philip takes the child away to devote himself to a cure, leaving Hilda to believe the child has been buried. With Hilda completely estranged from her husband, she falls under the influence of Livingston.

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Marvin takes matters into his own hands and decides to bring Hilda to her son.

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When Hilda enters the boy’s room, the boy miraculously raises his arms, stretches them out, and slides from his chair unassisted.

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Wid’s Daily praised the film, writing “the rapid pass of the various situations and well-handled crises makes for a steady and uninterrupted thread of interest. There are many sequences between the mother and her child that sound the depths of the spectator’s sympathy. They will certainly make the average spectator cry and this the average spectator likes to do.” Moving Picture World was also on board, noting ‘the emotion in the picture is all honest emotion, and no one need be ashamed if caught rubbing his eyes with his handkerchief long before the final scene.” Exhibitor’s Herald pointed to the work of Chaplin, writing that the actress “has never been seen to better advantage than in his production. Her work is of exceptional merit and she is photographically very pleasing to the eye. She wears gorgeous gowns and furs which she displays to admirable advantage.” Motion Picture News was a bit more lukewarm, writing “again we have the husband engrossed in business, the neglected wife and the philanderer, with full details of what happens when these well known figures in movie history are properly manipulated except that in this instance enough digression from formula has been accomplished to give the offering a passable status as entertainment.”

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From August 24-26, 1922, the Poli presented The Crimson Challenge, starring Dorothy Dalton as Tharon Last, Jack Mower as Billy, and Frank Campeau as Buck Courtrey. The film was released in April of 1922 at five reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Buck Courtrey is the boss of Lost Valley, in cattle country.

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Courtrey, though married, has eyes for Tharon Last, daughter of rancher Jim Last. After Courtrey accosts Tharon on the range, she threatens to tell her father.

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Instead, Courtrey ambushes Last and shoots him in the back. As Last dies in his daughter’s arms, Tharon vows to avenge his death.

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She challenges Courtrey to a draw, but he refuses and she weakens. Then Courtrey steals her cattle and attacks her friends. Tharon takes her father’s place as leader of the ranchers, and organizes a committee which vows to stop Courtrey’s activities. Courtrey, through his wife, learns that Tharon loves Billy, one of her ranch hands.

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Tharon leads a raid which recovers some of the stolen cattle.

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In an ensuing battle, Billy is wounded and taken by Courtrey. Courtrey sends word to Tharon that unless she agrees to marry him, Billy will be tortured to death. Courtrey’s wife tells Tharon where Billy is hidden. She sets out to rescue him, along with an Indian guide. Meanwhile, Courtrey obtains a divorce from his wife, who dies of heart failure. Her brother attempts to kill Courtrey, but is himself killed. The townspeople finally turn on Courtrey and his men, but the villains manage to escape. Tharon rescues Billy and arrives back in town just as Courtrey and his men are returning to clean out the place. Courtrey is driven out of town, with Tharon in pursuit. She overtakes him and exacts her revenge, then rides back to town to marry Billy.

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The Film Daily wrote “for excitement this western can’t be beat and then there is Dorothy Dalton as a female Bill Hart,” adding “implausible as most of this type but sure fire for those who like the kind.” Motion Picture News was also impressed, writing “the star, attired in regular he-man breeches, sweater and top piece and with two lead pumpers girdled about her waist line, and astride a spirited bronc makes a picture which will bring her an increasing popularity. Miss Dalton possesses such a positive personality that the role of heroine is easy for her. A fighting she-woman.” Moving Picture World noted “every few feet something takes place that promotes a cavalcade of speeding cowboys, with the result that the spectator gets keyed up and stays that way, watching the darting figures that are not riding across the screen merely to give the picture fast action but are doing it for a logical, melodramatic purpose.” Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “a red-blooded story that ought to go big.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review called the film “bully good entertainment,” and wrote “the best way to enjoy The Crimson Challenge is sit back and comfortably and absorb its spectacular happenings, its fierce “put-‘em-across-lively” punches – without stopping to indulge in useless speculation as to whether the plot is improbable or the heroine an impossible party.”

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From August 27-30, 1922, the Poli ran Over the Border, starring Betty Compson as Jen Galbraith and Tom Moore as Sergeant Tom Flaherty. The film was released on June 4, 1922, at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Jen Galbraith is in love with Sergeant Tom Flaherty of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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Two other men covet Jen: Snow Devil, a half-breed who is secretary a Mountie, and “Pretty Pierre,” a bootlegger. Her father, Peter, and her brother, Val, are members of a group who smuggle whiskey across the border into Montana. Jen tries to get Tom to leave the service, but he will have none of that. Due to his absences from the station to meet Jen, he gets in wrong with his superior officer. As Jen is riding home from meeting Tom, she is mistaken for a moonshiner and is pursued by the Mounties. She escapes, unrecognized, but one of the officers tracks her down due to a broken shoe on her horse. Tom arrives with another group of Mounties, and when illicit liquor is discovered, he is forced to arrest Jen’s father and brother. This causes friction between Jen and Tom. The Galbraiths are released on bail, and on the eve of their trial, Peter Galbraith orders Val to tell all the moonshiners to bring in all the liquor. He plans to get it across the border and jump bail. At the moonshiners hideout, Val has a fight with Snow Devil, and in an ensuing gunfight, Val kills Snow Devil. The moonshiners then discover that Snow Devil was working for the authorities, and that Val will hang if captured. Snow Devil’s death is reported, and Tom is given sealed orders to deliver to a post, so that a posse can be formed to arrest the killer, although he does not know it is Jen’s brother. Tom sets out in a blizzard.

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Peter Galbraith learns that Tom is carrying orders to arrest Snow Devil’s killer. He drugs Tom, but before Tom goes under, Jen learns enough to convince herself that Tom was never disloyal to her. To protect his honor, Jen disguises herself as a Mountie and delivers the arrest orders.

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When she returns, she is met by her father and Pretty Pierre, and as Tom awakens, she tells them she delivered his orders.

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She then learns in horror that the orders means her brother’s death.

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Meanwhile, Val is trying to make his way to the border, but is pursued by Mounties. Tom arrives and pretends Val is his prisoner, and then informs his comrades that effective in half an hour, he will no longer be a Mountie. When the time arrives, Tom knocks out one of the Mounties, disguises himself as Val, and flees. Val, accompanied by Jen, their father, and Pierre, escapes across the border into the United States. Tom is captured, but Pierre, attempting to save him, is shot. As he is dying, he tells the Mounties that it was he who killed Snow Devil. The authorities declare the incident closed.

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Eventually Tom and Jen are reunited.

The stills below could not be placed in context. The first two show Betty Compson with Sidney D’Albrook (as Snow Devil):

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The next still shows Jean De Briac (as Pretty Pierre), Casson Ferguson (as Val Galbraith), Tom Moore, Betty Compson, and J. Farrell MacDonald (as Peter Galbraith):

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The final still shows Moore, Compson, and De Briac:

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The Film Daily gave a positive review, noting the film was “not strikingly original but contains some good dramatic moments … plenty of cooling snow  scenery and action provided through the old reliable Mounted Police.” Motion Picture News praised the film, writing that it “sets a standard for other producers to aim at. To date it is the finest “snow-set” picture we have ever seen – barring none. The story is worked out in about three or four feet of snow – real, honest to goodness stuff. There’s a blizzard in this picture that is the acme of realism.  The entire feature is a photographic gem, some of the night shots being especially fine.” Moving Picture World added “if your audiences like virile stories of the Mounted Police, with plenty of fine snowstuff, they will welcome this one.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “the Canadian wilderness scenes are wonderfully realistic, the snow effects remarkably impressive; there are some marvelously beautiful long shots and striking light and shadow contrasts, as well as a bitter blizzard of such tremendous proportions that one actually shivers in contemplating it.”

 

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From August 31-September 2, 1922, the Poli presented My Old Kentucky Home, starring Monte Blue as Richard Goodloe, Sigrid Holmquist as Virginia Sanders, and Arthur Carew as “Con” Arnold. The film was released in August of 1922 at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Richard Goodloe, son of a wealthy Southern mother, has been railroaded into Sing Sing. When he is released, he dreads going home for fear of breaking his mother’s heart. But then he hears the strains of “My Old Kentucky Home” coming from a street organ, and decides to go home. His mother is overjoyed to see him, as is his former sweetheart, Virginia Sanders, daughter of Colonel Sanders.

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 “Con” Arnold is a rival for Virginia’s affections.

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He warns Richard to keep away from the girl, or else he will expose his past. With the Kentucky Derby approaching, Richard’s mother enters her horse “Dixie” in the race, and puts her fortune behind it. Richard wires two reformed crooks, Steven McKenna and Loney Smith, who helped him get his release from prison; one is a horse trainer and the other a former jockey.

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The two men give Dixie a tryout and conclude the horse is not fast enough to win the Derby. They come up with a scheme. McKenna decides they will use a horse named “Lightnin,” owned by his girl Calamity Jane, and pass it off for Dixie.

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The two men try out the horse and decide it has a chance. Meanwhile, Richard continues to live in fear that his mother will discover he was in prison, and Arnold threatens to expose Richard every chance he gets. Then Arnold, who will be betting on a horse named “Corsair” in the Derby, learns that Dixie is about to be switched for Lightnin’. If Dixie wins, Arnold will expose the plot. At the last minute, Richard puts Dixie in the race, instead of Lightnin’. Dixie wins a thrilling race, and Arnold tells the authorities about the substitution, and also about Richard’s criminal record. But Detective Monahan, who has been on the trail of Arnold for past crimes, arrests the villain on the charge that had imprisoned Richard.

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Richard is cleared.

The still below could not be placed in context. It shows Lucy Fox (as Calamity Jane) and an unidentified young actor:

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The Film Daily gave a positive review, writing “the picture contains a good deal of sentiment such as you might expect from the title. It is the sort of material that makes for audience appeal and although the pathos is never extreme there is just enough of it to offset the light comedy that is found in the latter reels. The direction is even for the most part and especially good in the racing sequence. A fine atmosphere of the track is created and a whole lot of effective spirit is worked up.” Motion Picture News also praised the film, writing “looking at it from its various departments and summing it up under the name of entertainment there is no gainsaying the fact that it will attract the passerby.” Moving Picture World added “there is considerable heart interest in the production and several humorous touches, and as a whole it should prove satisfactory for audiences who like this type of photoplay.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “this is the sort of old-fashioned melodrama which can usually be depended upon to win favor with a majority of motion picture patrons for the sufficient reason that it entertains without subjecting the on-lookers to excessive mental strain.” Finally, Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “there is good story interest and a strong love story, besides a number of good racing scenes. And the picture contains a certain touch of genuineness and atmosphere of the South in keeping with the spirit of the tale.”

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From September 3-6, 1922, the Poli ran Borderland, starring Agnes Ayres in a dual role as Dora Becket and Edith Wayne, Milton Sills as James Wayne, Casson Ferguson as Clyde Meredith, and Ruby Lafayette as Eileen. The film was released on July 30, 1922, at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: The spirit of Dora Becket wanders through purgatory looking for her lost child.

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She arrives at the Well at the World’s End, and the Angel of the Well has her look down into it. Dora sees a young wife named Edith Wayne, who is one of her descendants. Edith is rich and spoiled, and her husband James is immersed in his business, so she feels neglected. Her son, Jinty, is a handful and she grows tired of him. Edith turns to her husband’s cousin, Clyde Meredith, for attention.

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Dora cries out that Edith must not follow the same path that Dora did – she must somehow warn Edith. The Angel at the Well tells Dora she can only reach Edith by passing through storms and flames. Dora agrees, and goes through an icy storm and burning fire to reach earth. Meanwhile, Edith places her son in a boarding school, and tells her husband she is leaving to visit Beckets’ Point, a vacation spot which has always been in the family. In reality, she meets Meredith there and the two plan to run off together. While at the vacation home, they see a portrait of a woman from 1850, a woman who looks similar to Edith. Edith explains that the woman is her great grand-aunt Dora, who drowned some seventy years ago. The spirit of Dora enters the house and attempts to speak with Edith, but the young woman cannot see or hear her. Neither can the caretaker, Nora. Then Dora comes upon Nora’s grandmother Eileen, who had served in the household when Dora lived there. Eileen is now blind, deaf, and paralyzed. Dora enters Eileen’s body, and the old woman suddenly rises and walks out of the room, much to the astonishment of Nora. Eileen walks into Edith’s room, and the young woman cries out in fright. Eileen then tells Edith the story of another foolish woman who lived in this same house, seventy years ago.

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Dora Becket was young and pretty, and her husband was harsh and old and unkind. The couple had one child, Totty, who was mischievous.  Totty had a dog named Boss. One day the husband’s half-brother, Francis Vincent, came to the house. He was an adventurer and lavished attention on Dora.

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The two planned to run off together in his ship. Both felt that Totty should be left behind with her father. Dora’s husband left on a short trip, so she and Vincent plotted to leave. While packing, she was interrupted by Totty, who wanted to play. Dora heard Vincent whistle from outside, so she had to hurry. She put Totty to bed, and to make sure her daughter would not follow her, locked her in the room. Boss took up a position outside the door. Dora then went to Vincent’s ship. A fire broke out at Dora’s home. Boss barked but would not leave his post. He tried to free Totty from the locked door, but was overcome by the fire. Aboard the ship, Dora could see her house on fire. Vincent reassured her that her child would run out of the house, but Dora screamed that she had locked her daughter in her room. Dora leapt from the ship to try to reach the shote, and Vincent dove in after her. But Dora was swept away, while Vincent was rescued by his men. The story completed, Edith rushes out of the house with only one thought – to get her son back before anything could happen to him. Nora comes upon her grandmother, now dead in her chair. Dora, back at the Well at the World’s End, looks down and sees Edith push aside Meredith and drive off to get her child. The Angel tells Dora she has won the right now to find her little girl, and Dora finds herself transported to a place where there are trees, grass, and dim light and a brook, which she begins to follow. Meanwhile, with Edith driving full speed to her son, her husband is also driving toward the boarding school. Jinty is dreaming of climbing on the scaffold that surrounds the new gymnasium. Still asleep, he rises from his bed, makes his way outside the building, and climbs the scaffold. Edith reaches the school just in time to see the boy on the scaffold. She climbs up after him and reaches him just as he totters along the edge. Her husband arrives, and rescues both of them. Dora comes across the old dog Boss, and knows that Totty must be nearby. She follows the dog, and at last she comes to a place where there are flowers, green trees, and sunshine.  Across the field, Totty comes running to meet her mother, and the two embrace.

The still below shows Director Paul Powell with Muriel McCormac (in an undetermined role), Ayres, and Lafayette:

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The photo below shows the display outside Sid Grauman’s Theatre, as he also welcomed Will Hays to town:

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Exhibitor’s Trade Review called the film “a picture altogether out of the ordinary rut, beautifully photographed, well directed and presented by a thoroughly capable cast.” Moving Picture World wrote “the producers have taken a difficult subject and have approached it with delicacy, clear expression and remarkably fine film craftsmanship. The result is a decidedly worthwhile picture that will meet with unqualified approval from any type of audience.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “this rather fantastic and somewhat illogical picture carries with it an obvious moral that will make it please those who like their entertainment seasoned with a forceful lesson.” The Film Daily called the film a “well staged production based upon morbid theme,” adding that the production contained “some very unusual and artistic shots.” Motion Picture News wrote “getting right down to rock bottom, the theme by itself is absurd, but it has been treated so seriously by the director and author, that even the smiling scoffers of Spiritism will be impressed by it,” adding “the picture is artistic and some exceptionally effective scenes are shown of that borderland or purgatory in which the departed linger, must purge themselves of their sins and get in touch with their erring relatives before they can climb to a higher plane.” However, Photoplay panned the film, calling Ayres “highly ineffective” and the story “dull and wandering.”

Beulah Marie Dix, who wrote the scenario, was born on Christmas Day, 1876, in Kingston, MA. She graduated Summa C um Laude with a degree in English from Radcliffe College in 1897. In addition to her movie scripts, she had several novels and plays to her credit. She died in California in 1970. In 1972, her daughter, Evelyn Greenleaf Scott, published Hollywood When Silents Were Golden, which contains reminiscences of when Scott, then only five years old, went to Hollywood with her mother.

 

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9 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

From September 3-6, 1922, the Poli ran Borderland, starring Agnes Ayres in a dual role as Dora Becket and Edith Wayne, Milton Sills as James Wayne, Casson Ferguson as Clyde Meredith, and Ruby Lafayette as Eileen. The film was released on July 30, 1922, at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Too bad this is a lost film (it's a shame any of these films are lost, actually.) I love the otherworldly theme, and silent pictures seemed to master that art.

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4 hours ago, sagebrush said:

Too bad this is a lost film (it's a shame any of these films are lost, actually.) I love the otherworldly theme, and silent pictures seemed to master that art.

I agree. And I actually got a bit of an emotional reaction while I was writing the synopsis.

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From September 7-9, 1922, the Poli ran North of the Rio Grande, starring Jack Holt as Bob Haddington and Bebe Daniels as Val Hannon. The film was released on May 14, 1922, at five reels, and is presumed lost. Fortunately, the Library of Congress contains a very detailed synopsis.

Plot: At the Rancho Haddington in Mexico, Colonel Haddington and his son Bob are welcoming their two prized horses, Comet and Meteor, just returned from El Paso. “We drink the health of the best horses that ever left the field behind,” says the Colonel. In the nearby village of Santa Dolores, where Father Hillaire is ministering to his peons, Mexican troops raid the town under the pretense of collecting back taxes. Father Hillaire asks Bob for help, and the young man gathers up a handful of cowboys. They ride to Santa Dolores, scatter the Mexican troops, and restore the funds. Back at Rancho Haddington, two masked riders attempt to steal Comet and Meteor. Colonel Haddington surprises the thieves, but is shot down just as Bob returns from Santa Dolores. Bob intercepts the murderer’s horse and tears the mask from the man’s face, but the two thieves escape with Meteor. The Colonel dies that night and Bob declares he will not rest until he has found Meteor and the men who killed his father. Bob becomes a law unto himself. Using the name Bob Velantrie, and riding Comet, he assembles a band of men to fight injustice. Bob and his men pay a visit to a wealthy half-breed ranch owner who has been exploiting the peons. They take a bag of his gold, then head for Refugio Mission, where Father Hillaire has established a refuge for peons driven out of Mexico. Father Hillaire refuses to take the gold, and implores Bob to give up his wild life and ideas of revenge.

Val Shannon is the daughter of John Hannon, the biggest rancher in the district.

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She arrives at the mission on her daily visit to the refugees. The priest senses the instant attraction between Bob and Val, but Bob admits to Father Hillaire that he is not fit for a girl like Val. As Bob leaves, he drops the bag of gold at the priest’s feet, prompting Father Hillaire to accept the offer as “a doubtful means to a holy end.”

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After leaving the mission, Bob meets his men at Santa Leandra, where he gets into a poker game with a man named Brideman.

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Brideman is a mysterious character, always seeming to have plenty of money, although no one knows where he gets it. During the game, Lola Sanchez flirts with Bob. Bob cleans out Brideman.

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Lola suggests that Brideman use her as a stake against Bob’s winnings. When Bob wins again, Lola says to him “you are my master now.” Bob laughs and shrugs her off. At Hannon’s Paradise Ranch, a delegation of ranchers confer with Hannon about the Black Rustler, who has been riding off cattle. Dyke, one of the ranchers, mutters “funny thing, John Hannon hain’t never lost no stock. What’s your magic, John? I’m cur’ous.” Hannon taps the butt of his revolver and replies “here’s my magic, Dyke – want to see me make it?” The other ranchers quiet Dyke down, and agree to organize against the Black Rustler with Hannon as their leader. Bob rides to the mission, where he meets Val.

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They also meet a Mexican woman whose husband has deserted her, so Bob promises to try to find him. Bob searches the border country for several weeks, to no avail. Then comes the Fourth of July dance in Santa Leandra. Bob and his men appear there, and Lola immediately tries to attach herself to Bob, much to the anger of her jealous Mexican lover. Val and some cowboys from her ranch show up just as the Mexican attempts to shoot Bob. Val thwarts the attempt by grabbing the man’s gun.

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Bob thanks her for saving his life. Lola turns to Brideman for comfort. Back at Paradise Ranch, Hannon tells his servant Jose to make sure that his horse, Redstar, is safely locked in the stable. Val and the cowboys return at dawn, and discover that Redstar has been stolen from the stable during the night. Hannon blames the Black Rustler and sends out a notice for all the ranchers to meet him that afternoon to discuss plans to capture the thief. Val goes to the mission, where Bob appears with the Mexican deserter for whom he had been searching. The man discovers his wife had given birth during his absence. The reunion of the married couple serves to bring Bob and Val closer, but as Bob and Val leave the mission, he quietly tells Father Hillaire “I know padre, she is like your church door – forbidden to me.” Meanwhile, Lola, still angered at Bob, remains close to Brideman, who tells her he knows a secret about the Black Rustler. Lola, believing that Bob is the Black Rustler, tries to worm the secret out of Brideman. Bob finally admits to Val that he is a hunted outlaw who has sworn to kill a man. Val replies “but you must repent – break your oath. The door is open at Refugio and in my heart.” Bob tells her how his father was killed, and that he will know the killer when he sees him. They come upon Hannon and the other ranchers. Bob instantly recognizes Hannon as his father’s killer. The pair engage in a shoot-out. When Val rushes toward Hannon yelling “Father,” Bob lowers his revolver, claiming he was mistaken.

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 Val, confused, asks Bob to explain. Bob says they must part – that some people suspect he is the Black Rustler. He rides off. Brideman, infatuated with Lola, tells her that the Black Rustler is planning to ride in a day or two. Lola quickly goes into town and warns one of the ranchers that the Black Rustler is about to raid. Although dubious, the other ranchers post a guard along Blind Trail Pass, where the cattle had been run off. The foreman of Hannon’s ranch notices the servant Jose going into the hills, so he follows him. The range is suddenly lit with signal fires, warning the ranchers that the Black Rustler is at work. Hannon’s cowboys start out, declaring they will capture and hang the thief. The Black Rustler and his partner are driving off some cattle. It is now revealed that Hannon is the Black Rustler, with Brideman his partner.  But Hannon does not know that Brideman has tipped off Lola. When a band of cowboys come upon Hannon, Brideman escapes, but Hannon is badly wounded. He manages to hide and then heads for his ranch. Hannon’s foreman, who has continued to follow Jose, finds Hannon’s missing horse Redstar in a canyon. Redstar gallops off toward Hannon’s ranch. Back at the mission, Father Hillaire confesses to Bob that Hannon is the Black Rustler, and that Hannon is riding into a trap. For Val’s sake, Bob decides he will draw off pursuit from Hannon. Riding Comet, Bob sets out for Blind Trail Pass and finds the wounded Hannon. Bob takes Hannon’s hat, and while Hannon rides for the ranch, Bob draws off the pursuers. Hannon reaches home, but dying in Val’s arms, he confesses that he is the Black Rustler, and that Bob has taken his place. Val wants to ride off to help Bob, but there is no horse left on the ranch. Just then, Redstar comes galloping home. Redstar is in fact Meteor, the horse stolen from Bob’s father. Val mounts the horse and speeds off to help Bob. Now the two horses, Comet and Meteor, each carrying Bob and Val, come together at Blind Trail Pass, where a guard is waiting. The pursuing ranchers grab Bob, but Val forces her way through the mob and announces that her father was the Black Rustler, and that Bob was only trying to throw off the pursuit.

The ranchers are skeptical, but Brideman, who has been captured, confirms Val’s story. Bob is set free, and he and Val ride back to Paradise Ranch. Brideman, about to be hung by the ranchers, says “give my love to Lola, the little vixen.”

The still below could not be placed in context, but it may show a confrontation between Holt (Bob) and the Mexican he is tracking:

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Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “a robust Western, teeming with action.” The Film Daily wrote “a hackneyed plot is nicely camouflaged with plenty of fine pictorial appeal that proves quite successful,” adding “there are about two reels of unusually fine western locations in which the chase of pursuer and pursued figure in an exciting sequence that is well worth seeing.” However, the magazine did point out some major flaws, writing “one outstanding poor bit is that in which hero Jack Holt locks a crowd of marauders in a barn and orders them to hand out their guns. All the while his captives never fire a shot. This is too easy even for a hero.” The still below is probably from this scene:

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Motion Picture News praised the backdrops, noting “this western has one of the finest scenic settings it has been our pleasure to view in many, many moons. It was staged in the Arizona “cow country,” along the famous Apache trail and one gets glimpses of the cliff-dwellings background. The exteriors all have unusual depth and one almost is able to smell the mountain air.” Moving Picture World wrote “although there is nothing startlingly new to the story or the manner in which it is related, there is enough melodramatic excitement and typical Western stuff to satisfy the many who have a penchant for Westerns. The fast riding, gunplay, beautiful scenery, bad men, heroics, intrigue and romance are combined in a plot that holds the interest.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review noted that, despite a slow and incoherent start, the film “soon develops into a Western that is far above the average. It has a well-defined plot, and in concealing the identity of the villain until the last reel, the suspense is carried right along to the end of the photoplay.” But Photoplay panned the film, writing “Bebe Daniels and Jack Holt – who both seem a little out of their element in a straight Western setting. The plot never surprises – it runs true to type with a banal result. …The picture is not worth while – unless you like these stars in anything.”

Paramount played up the fact that twenty-five “real cowpunchers” appeared in the film. Among them was Red Eagle, described as “the grandson of Chief Red Eagle, whose band exterminated an immigrant train during the gold rush days, long ago.” But the publicity department was quick to point out that “the 1922 Red Eagle, however, is not a savage, but a well-educated half-breed who has the distinction of being the champion “bull-dogger” of the world, a high honor in cowpunching circles.”

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From September 10-13, 1922, the Poli presented The Top of New York, directed by William Desmond Taylor, and starring May McAvoy as Hilda O’Shaunnessey, Walter McGrail as Emery Gray, and Edward Cecil as Gregory Sterns. The film’s release date is uncertain. The film was five reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot:  Hilda O’Shaunnessey works in the toy department of the Bon Ton Store. She also plays the part of an animated doll in a big Christmas display.

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She hopes to earn enough money to get treatment for her crippled little brother Mickey, who spends most of his time on the roof of their tenement.

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Across the way live a young artist named Emery Gray, whose wife had deserted him, and his daughter Susan. Susan tries to keep Mickey company. Slowly, Gray grows interested in Hilda.

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Hilda’s aunt, with whom she lives, is not happy with the growing relationship.

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While at work one day, Hilda notices snowfall, and remembers that Mickey is alone on the roof. She rushes out of the store. When her boss, Gregory Sterns, is notified she has left, he offers her a ride home in his limousine. Hilda, sensing Sterns’ interest in her, sees a way to get money to pay for Mickey’s treatment.

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The next day, Sterns asks Hilda what she wants for Christmas, and she replies “a long squirrel coat.” She them promises to meet Sterns the next night, “right in front of the house.” Hilda pawns the coat for $500. The next night, which happens to be Christmas Eve, Hilda puts on her doll costume and dances for Mickey. The next day, she seems him off for the hospital. Then she goes to the roof, prepared to jump to her death, to meet Sterns “right in front of the house” as she had promises. But Gray saves her in the nick of time. Sterns, impatiently waiting downstairs, comes to the roof – and Gray recognizes him as the man who had wrecked his home and stolen his wife.

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The two men fight, and Gray emerges victorious, winning Hilda for his wife and a mother to Susan.

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This was the final film directed by William Desmond Taylor, who was murdered in February of 1922.

The Film Daily wrote that the film “offers aa satisfying entertainment for those who favor plenty of sentiment in their photoplays and pathos in preference to light, cheerful situations. …The picture, undeniably, contains a genuine fine heart interest and the director has created a real sympathy for the heroine.” Exhibitor’s Herald noted “this is a smooth running melodrama of the familiar type with plenty of pathos intermingled with a lot of good clean comedy. … As picture stories go now it is not of that kind that is usually termed elevating, but Miss McAvoy, by her beauty, fascination and histrionic ability, lifts her commonplace role to a high plane.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote that the film “is likely to win favor with that large class of film patrons who are keen on sentiment served up in generous measure, with villainy defeated and virtue properly victorious.” But Motion Picture News was not impressed, writing “there is nothing new or novel in this story. It is entirely too long and filled with stereotyped characters and situations.”

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From September 14-16, 1922, the Poli ran Twin Beds, starring Carter DeHaven as Signor Monti, Flora DeHaven as Blanche Hawkins, William Desmond as Harry Hawkins, and Helen Raymond as Signora Monti. The film was released in 1920 at five reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Signor Monti, a tenor singing in a cheap cabaret, is discovered by a musical comedy producer, and he becomes a star. Harry Hawkins and his wife Blanche live in the same apartment building as the Montis.

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When Hawkins gives a party, Signor Monti becomes infatuated with Blanche, arousing the jealousy of his wife Helen and Harry. To keep his wife away from Monti, the Hawkins move into another apartment building. Unknowingly, Monti and his wife move into the same building, into the apartment directly above the Hawkins. Monti’s wife keeps a sharp eye on him, so to enjoy at evening at the club, he goes down the fire escape. When he returns a bit tipsy, he mistakenly gets off the elevator at the wrong floor, and enters the Hawkins bedroom, where the twin beds are exact duplicates of his own. Harry has gone out, leaving Blanche asleep in one bed. Monti falls asleep in the other.

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In the morning, Blanche discovers Monti just as Harry is returning.

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Monti makes several unsuccessful attempts to escape.

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Meanwhile, Helen has called the police, and a detective has traced Monti to one of the apartments. Harry becomes suspicious when he finds a pair of men’s shoes in his bedroom. As Blanche makes a last ditch effort to remove Monti from her bedroom, Helen appears and identifies the shoes as belonging to her husband. Monti is discovered in the laundry basket, which makes Harry believe his wife is having an affair. Helen threatens to kill her husband. Eventually the entire situation is straightened out.

The film was based upon a successful Broadway play, written by Margaret Mayo and Salisbury Field.

Wid’s Daily called the film “an amusing comedy offering with enough humorous situations to get it over,” adding “the action takes place almost entirely in one room and even though it is a case of continuous “in and outing” on the part of all the characters, still the director has managed to maintain adequate coherence.” Motion Picture News wrote “every scene is well time with no stressing of detail to make it a five-reeler. … The piece is excellently staged and should be thoroughly enjoyed by any audience.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote that the film was “an amusing bedroom farce, without a single offensive moment, presenting the stars to good advantage.” Moving Picture World wrote “Mrs. DeHaven is pleasing and thoroughly alive to the humor of the situation, but her husband is a veritable surprise, surpassing himself in the impersonation of a temperamental Italian tenor.”

 

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From September 17-20, 1922, the Poli ran The Woman Who Walked Alone, starring Dorothy Dalton as Iris Champneys, Milton Sills as Clement Gaunt, E. J. Radcliffe as Earl of Lemister, and Wanda Hawley as Muriel Champneys. The film was released on June 11, 1922, at six reels. The Gosfilmofond in Russia holds a complete copy.

Plot: Irish Adelaide Victoria Champneys, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the bankrupt Marquis Champneys, marries Richard, Earl of Lemister, to save her father from ruin.

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The Earl is over fifty, but Iris promises him she will be faithful, as long as he does not force her to give up her activities, such as hunting and gambling. Among the crowd gathered at the wedding is Clement Gaunt, who is headed for South Africa. As the crowd surges toward the married couple, Gaunt clears a passage to the waiting car. Iris thanks him and tosses him a lily from her bouquet. That evening, Gaunt sets out for South Africa. Five years pass, and Iris, now Countess of Lemister, is one of the most popular women in England.

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She has remained faithful to the Earl, but he is constantly jealous.

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He has her spied upon constantly. At the end of the hunting season, Iris gives a party to announce the engagement of her sister Muriel to Sir Basil Deere.

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Muriel is marrying Basil for his money, although Iris believes it is for love. Meanwhile, Muriel has been carrying on an affair with Otis Yeardley, a penniless scoundrel. Iris invites Yeardley to the party, not knowing of the affair. Iris dances at the party, while her husband drinks and sulks. Later in the evening, as Iris is winning at the gambling table, she notices Muriel and Yeardley slip off together. In a ****, Yeardley demands that Muriel get him five thousand pounds, threatening to expose their affair with incriminating letters if she refuses. Muriel comes to Iris, tells her the truth, and Iris promises to secure the letters without paying Yeardley. After everyone has retired for the evening, Iris goes to Yeardley’s room to get the letters.

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Her maid informs the Earl, who hurries to Yeardley’s room. Iris is just getting the letters when Yeardley awakens, and locks the door.

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The Earl pounds on the door, which Iris opens. He accuses her of infidelity, in front of all his guests. Iris says nothing, and the Earl orders her out of the house.

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Her parents learn of the disgrace and close their door to her. Iris takes a map of the world, closes her eyes, and points to a place at random. Her finger lands on South Africa. “I will be the cat who walks by itself, in the wild, wet wood – and all places will be alike to me!” she exclaims. Meanwhile, Clement Gaunt has become foreman of a great cattle ranch. His employer, Schreimann, does not know that his wife, Hannah, has fallen for Gaunt. One night while Gaunt is sitting outside his cabin by a fire, Hannah throws herself at him. Her husband finds the two together and springs at Gaunt.

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During the struggle, Hannah shoots and kills her husband. She then accuses Gaunt of the murder. With the South Africa police on his trail, Gaunt flees into the northern foothills, builds a shack, and isolates himself until the chase dies down. A woman unknown to the locals opens a halfway house, which becomes a stopping point for the South African police. Jock McKinney, Chief of Police, becomes friendly with her.

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He asks the woman to marry him but she refuses. When he tries to kiss her, she slaps his face. When he makes a second attempt, she grabs his gun and makes him kiss each man in the room.

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McKinney admires her for her spirit and they become friends. There is speculation about her past, but she refuses to answer questions. She is, in fact, Iris. After two years in isolation, Gaunt ventures into civilization for supplies. He sees a London newspaper, which carries an account of the Earl of Lemister’s divorce from Iris. He recalls her wedding, and still carries the lily in his pocketbook. Gaunt is now determined to return to civilization and resume his life. He comes to the halfway house, and recognizes Iris. Mombo, who works at the house, is a former employee of Schreimann, and recognizes Gaunt as a wanted man. Mombo tells Iris, who tells him to notify the police, who are camped some miles away. After Mombo leaves, Iris attempts to detain Gaunt with a game of cards. Gaunt agrees, and eventually loses his money. Meanwhile, McKinney has gotten Iris’ message and is headed back to the halfway house with his men. During the card game, Iris becomes curious and asks Gaunt who he is.

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Gaunt then tells her he was at her wedding, and produces the lifeless lily she had thrown to him. She asks him straight out if he killed Schreimann, and Gaunt swears he did not.

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Iris believes him and warns him he must go. She offers him some gold, but he refuses. She slips some into his pocketbook anyway. Gaunt rides away. McKinney and his men arrive and Iris tells them he was unable to keep Gaunt there. She then sends them off on the wrong route. Gaunt discovers the gold in his pocketbook, and seized with anger, rides back to the halfway house. McKinney and his men are just leaving when they hear glass breaking, and see a bag of gold come flying through a window. McKinney and his men chase after Gaunt, capture him, and prepare for a hanging. Iris rides after them, and declares that Gaunt is innocent and must not be hanged.

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McKinney will not listen, but being a sportsman, he makes her a bargain. He and Iris will shoot at a bullseye. If McKinney wins, Gaunt hangs. If Iris wins, he will give Gaunt twenty-four hours start – but Iris must promise to marry Gaunt. Iris agrees. She wins the shooting contest, and a police parson who is present marries the pair. McKinney and his men ride away, while Iris and Gaunt head for the halfway house. She tells Gaunt to ride away for his life, but he refuses to go without her. Later, along the trail, Iris attempts to leave him, but Gaunt grabs her horse’s bridle. As Iris whips her horse, the animal plunges down a ravine, with Gaunt tumbling after it. He is knocked unconscious. With darkness approaching, Irish collects wood and builds a fire. Then she sees jackals approaching. Knowing they will not attack a moving body, she begins to dance, and continues until all the jackals have left. Exhausted, she falls asleep next to Gaunt.

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Gradually, he revives and finds her beside him.

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McKinney and his men find the pair. McKinney has a deathbed confession from Schreimann’s wife, and tells Gaunt the good news. Gaunt awakens Iris to share his joy.

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As the pair embrace, McKinney mutters “never again will she walk by herself, that cat who walks alone!”

The still below shows Director George Melford, Milton Sills, Dorothy Dalton, and Wanda Hawley:

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Note: This synopsis was taken from the Library of Congress. In a few reviews, the ending is different. After Gaunt is injured, he is captured by the police. Iris secures a confession from Hannah Schreimann, and Gaunt is cleared. I cannot confirm which ending was shown on screen.

The Film Daily gave a positive review, writing “Director [George] Melford has spared neither expense nor effort to make the atmosphere realistic and agreeable to the eye. Particularly pretty exteriors have been selected for backgrounds and excellent photography enhances the beauty of them in every case. Interiors, too, are very attractive and in keeping with the atmosphere.” Motion Picture News gushed “it’s one of the best starring vehicles Dorothy Dalton has ever had. Here she is given opportunity to display her real beauty in a role that is a distinct department from her last role in “The Crimson Challenge.” As the beautiful bride of a British peer and later as the proprietress of a Boer tavern, Dorothy does some of the best work of her career. Here she does not have to mar her feminine attractiveness with rough riding apparel, but is given opportunity to wear some gowns that look as if they are fresh from the Champs Elysee.” Moving Picture World wrote that the movie was “a vital film play constructed, directed and acted with keen intelligence. Everything has been done with genuine technique. Which means that the picture is thoroughly worth wile. And it is no rash prediction to say that this feature will meet with positive success before any type of audience.” Exhibitor’s Herald was lukewarm, however, noting “the story follows conventional lines and suffers for want of novelty in situation and is at times tedious.”

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From September 21-23, 1922, the Poli ran The Jack-Knife Man, directed by King Vidor, and starring Fred Turner as Peter Lane, Bobby Kelso as Buddy, and Harry Todd as Booge. The film was released in August of 1920, and is available on YouTube, running around 78 minutes.

Plot: Peter Lane lives by himself in an old houseboat. During a storm one night, a woman and her small son Buddy seek shelter with Lane.

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The woman dies the next day from exposure, and when the attending physician assumes the woman and Buddy are Lane’s wife and son, Lane does not correct him. One day, a tramp named Booge tries to take off on the boat while Lane is looking for food. Lane stops him, then decides to take on Booge if he helps with the chores. Together, the two men take care of Buddy. Lane uses his jack-knife to carve wooden animals for Buddy, while Booge amuses the boy with songs and woodwork.

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Complications ensue when the town’s Justice of the Peace, Briggles, tries to take Buddy away from Lane.

Review: This is a sweet film, and highly recommended. It is unfortunate the print on YouTube is mediocre, but the film is still watchable. The acting is solid across the board. Kelso is very cute. All the main performers were in their 40s, 50s and, in the case of Lane, 60s, and yet this seems like a film to be enjoyed by all ages. King Vidor’s wife Florence has a small but pivotal role near the end of the film.

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There is also an amusing subplot involving the Widow Potter (well-played by Lillian Leighton) and her attempts to hook Lane. An unforeseen twist late in the film makes the final scene at fadeout very poignant and bittersweet. This movie is a little gem, not to be missed.

This was apparently the only film appearance of Bobby Kelso. According to King Vidor, “the boy was most difficult to work with. It was his first experience. My wife happened to notice him in a hair-dressing parlor one day, and she immediately decided he was just the type I wanted. … Everything he does in the picture is natural because he didn’t like to act.” To keep the child engaged in the work, Vidor supplied jelly beans, ice cream cones, whistles, chalk, along with rocking horses, wagons, and tricycles. The head prop man, named Hughie, would stand on his head off camera, whenever Vidor wanted Kelso to laugh. “There was one scene,” explained Vidor “where he cries and then immediately is supposed to brighten up with surprise. We tried for a day before we could get him to do the scene. It was easy enough to make him cry by starting the thunder machine going on an adjoining set. Then we had a time to make him laugh. So finally I had one of the men conceal two rabbits under his coat, and suddenly flash them before the boy’s eyes when he was in the midst of his crying spell. The change of expression that came over his face was just what we wanted.” In the still below, Director Vidor (kneeling) is seen coaching Kelso:

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18 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

This was apparently the only film appearance of Bobby Kelso. According to King Vidor, “the boy was most difficult to work with. It was his first experience. My wife happened to notice him in a hair-dressing parlor one day, and she immediately decided he was just the type I wanted. … Everything he does in the picture is natural because he didn’t like to act.” To keep the child engaged in the work, Vidor supplied jelly beans, ice cream cones, whistles, chalk, along with rocking horses, wagons, and tricycles. The head prop man, named Hughie, would stand on his head off camera, whenever Vidor wanted Kelso to laugh. “There was one scene,” explained Vidor “where he cries and then immediately is supposed to brighten up with surprise. We tried for a day before we could get him to do the scene. It was easy enough to make him cry by starting the thunder machine going on an adjoining set. Then we had a time to make him laugh. So finally I had one of the men conceal two rabbits under his coat, and suddenly flash them before the boy’s eyes when he was in the midst of his crying spell. The change of expression that came over his face was just what we wanted.”

That's a great story! At least the boy wasn't told his dog was going to be killed, like some directors did at the time to induce tears or fear in a child.

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From September 24-27, 1922, the Poli ran The Bonded Woman, starring Betty Compson as Angela Gaskell, John Bowers as John Somers, and Richard Dix as Lee Marvin. The film was released on August 21, 1922, at six reels. The Gosfilmofond in Moscow holds a complete copy.

Plot:  The introductory subtitle reads “A woman will respect and admire a saint, but she’ll follow a sinner to the ends of the earth.” Angela Gaskell is the daughter of Captain Gaskell, master of the S.S. Comet.  Lee Marvin, who works for the shipping firm that employs the captain, sets about wooing Angela. When the Comet is wrecked in a storm at sea, Captain Gaskell’s life is saved by John Somers, the first mate. Marvin thanks Somers, and Angela becomes interested in Somers, despite that fact he is given to drunken sprees.

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Angela goes to work in Marvin’s office. When a new ship is readied, Somers is the best available man for master. But Marvin refuses to employ Somers because of his problem with liquor. Angela intercedes, and Marvin agrees to give Somers the job if he can put up a ten thousand dollar bond. Unknown to Marvin, Angela and her father mortgage their home and put up the bond for Somers. When the ship docks in San Francisco, a large sum of money is discovered missing from the ship’s safe. Marvin believes that Somers may have inadvertently helped the thief by being drunk at the time.

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Somers is discharged, forfeits his bond, and leaves for the South Pacific. Angela becomes engaged to Marvin.

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Then she receives a note from Somers, who is operating a small trading vessel. He has enclosed five hundred dollars to apply against his debt. Angela confesses to her father, and then Marvin, that she cannot marry him.

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She leaves for the South Sea islands to find Somers. She meets him in a dive, where he has been drinking heavily.

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She goes on board his vessel, and while he is below drinking, she wrecks it on the rocks of a deserted island.

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In San Francisco, Somers’ former first mate confesses to Marvin that he was the thief. Marvin sails to find Angela and Somers. On the deserted island, Somers has given up drink and has found love with Angela. Marvin rescues the pair and rewards Somers with a position as master. Angela and Somers marry.

Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “a strong, virile story of the sea containing sufficient love interest and suspense, human appeals and thrills to make it a pleasing attraction, and cause spectators to overlook the illogical sequences.” Moving Picture World called the film a “humdinger,” adding that it “aims to tell a deeply appealing story, shoots straight for the mark and hits the bull’s eye. The plot has been developed with dramatic construction, embracing the primal law of story telling – exposition, conflict, result.” The Film Daily noted that the film was “perhaps a bit far-fetched for some but offers satisfying entertainment generally,” adding “Betty Compson is thoroughly appealing as the captain’s daughter and her women admirers are quite certain to be interested in the character she portrays in this. Her method of winning the love of the man she wants is well worth seeing.”

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From September 28-30, 1922, the Poli presented Mama’s Affair, starring Constance Talmadge as Eve Orrin, Effie Shannon as Mrs. Orrin, and Kenneth Harlan as Doctor Harmon. The film was released in February of 1921 at six reels. The Library of Congress holds a nearly complete copy, with one reel missing. Unfortunately, I could not find any stills, and could not find any contemporaneous reviews in the trade journals. So this will be one of my shortest posts on record.

Plot: In a prologue, the Garden of Eden is shown, and Eve induces Adam to hand her an apple by pretending to go into hysterics. This leads to the modern story, which is dedicated to woman’s staunchest ally, her “nerves.” Mrs. Orrin, a wealthy widow, and the mother of Eve, has a case of nerves whenever her daughter does not cater to her needs. To keep Eve under her influence, Mrs. Orrin agrees to a plan proposed by her friend, Mrs. Marchant, in which Mrs. Marchant’s son Henry will marry Eve, so that the couple will remain under the “jurisdiction” of the two women. Eve consents to please her mother, but she does not care for Henry, whom she views as a fortune hunter. During one of Mrs. Orrin’s “nervous attacks,” Doctor Harmon is called in. Harmon sizes up the situation and prescribes that Eve and her mother be separated. Eve falls for the doctor. When Mrs. Orrin has another attack of nerves, she tries to rush the wedding of Henry and Eve. By this time, Doctor Harmon has fallen for Eve, and over the objections of Mrs. Orrin and Henry, the couple get married.

 

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From October 1-4, 1922, the Poli ran The Five Dollar Baby, starring Viola Dana as Ruth, Ralph Lewis as Ben Shapinsky, Otto Hoffman as The Solitary Kid, and John Harron as Larry Donovan. The film was released in July of 1922 at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: A hobo named The Solitary Kid picks up a basket on the steps of an asylum, thinking it contains food. To his surprise, he finds a baby in the basket, along with a note from its mother stating whoever takes care of the baby will be richly rewarded. All the finder needs to do is present the note to the Trust Department of the Harrison National Bank on the baby’s eighteenth birthday, December 24, 1921. The Kid realizes this is a great opportunity to cash in, but he has to decide how to care for the baby until it’s of age. He sees a pawnshop with a sign reading “Ben Shapinsky, I LOAN MONEY ON ANYTHING,” so he enters the store. He learns from the owner that, according to the law, anything that is pawned must be kept in good order and is subject to the call of the pawner so long as the interest is paid. Then he tells Shapinsky that he wishes to pawn the baby. The old man, thinking this is a practical joke, lends the Kid five dollars on the baby. Later that night, Shapinsky realizes this is no joke, and that he must care for the child, so he hires a nurse. Twelve years pass, and the child, whom Shapinsky has named Ruth, has become the most important thing in Shapinsky’s life. But Shapinsky is in constant fear that the Kid will someday reclaim the child. Meanwhile, Ruth gains two admirers. One is Larry Donovan, the son of a police offer, who is an old friend of Shapinsky’s. The other is Bernie Riskin, whose father owns a clothing store nearby. Ruth is sent to a boarding school, but returns home at the age of eighteen, arriving on Christmas Eve. Shapinsky, although a Jew, gives a party in her honor, complete with a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. Bernie’s mother suggests to Shapinsky that Ruth and Bernie should marry.

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But Ruth is really in love with Larry.

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However, she agrees to the plan to please Shapinsky. Bernie is not thrilled, since he is interested in a girl named Esther Block. That same day, The Solitary Kid arrives in town and presents the note to the bank. He receives a letter which states that the person who takes care of the child will receive his reward in heaven. Disgusted, but thinking he may be able to get something out of Shapinsky, he presents his pawn ticket to the pawnbroker. Shapinsky offers to buy the pawn ticket, and the Kid demands the thousand dollars for it. Shapinsky tells the Kid to return the next evening and he will give him the money. When the Kid comes for the money, Shapinsky takes him into his office where their conversation is overheard by Ruth. She realizes Shapinsky is about to sacrifice everything he has to save her from the Kid. She takes Shapinsky’s money from the safe and runs away. Shapinsky discovers the money is missing, and the Kid, thinking he has been deceived, attacks the pawnbroker. Larry arrives in time to save Shapinsky, beats up the Kid, and takes the pawn ticket from him, along with the note. Ruth meets Larry’s father, explains the situation, and the two go to the pawnshop.

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The Kid is arrested and Shapinsky makes plans to have himself legally appointed as Ruth’s guardian. Bernie announces that he and Esther have gotten married. Ruth then accepts Larry’s proposal of marriage.

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The stills below could not be placed in context, but they show the attractive young cast. The first shows Dana (on the police officer), followed by John Harron, with Arthur Rankin (as Bernie Riskin) in front of Herron, and Peggy Provost (as Esther Block) at right:

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The second shows Block, Dana, and an unidentified actor:

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The third shows Rankin, Block, Dana, and Harron:

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Exhibitor’s Herald gave a positive review, noting that the film “should do well in communities where they have had a surfeit of sex plays, eternal triangles and domestic problems which so many directors appear to believe must be contained in every picture.” Motion Picture News wrote “if the public fails to respond to this feature, then you should lock up your door and throw the key into the gutter. After which you can imitate the Pied Piper, toot your horn and lead them into the nearest lake.” Moving Picture World wrote “few pictures lately can be said to carry a greater human appeal than this one. Tinged with pathos, it is also lighted at appropriate times with touches of mirth that will bring a sparkle to the eye that has but a moment before been laden to the brim with tears,” adding “Miss Dana does some of the best work of her career.” The Film Daily called the movie “a sure fire number that is real entertainment” and “a really delightful comedy offering that mixes laughs with pathos in appealing fashion.”

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From October 5-7, 1922, the Poli ran Kazan, starring Kazan the Wonder Dog, Jane Novak as Joan Raddison, and Ben Deeley as Jim Thorpe. The film was released in October of 1921 at six reels, and is presumed lost. Unfortunately, I could only find one still.

Plot: Jim Raddison, of the Northwest Mounted Police, is murdered, and the only witness is his companion, the wolf-dog Kazan. Jim’s father, Pierre, discovers his son’s body. Clutched in Jim’s hand is a note stating that his killer is “Black” McCready. Pierre, already suffering from a fatal illness, sends for his two children, Joan and Frank, telling them to come to his cabin for evidence that will convict Jim’s killer.  Frank, gambling at a saloon, accuses McCready of cheating. McCready throws him out of the saloon. Just then, Jim Thorpe, adventurer, arrives with Kazan on a leash. At the sight of McCready, the dog jumps at his throat, but is restrained. Later, McCready finds the dog along and attempts to beat him, but is interrupted by Joan, who throws her arms around Kazan. Thorpe arrives and warns Joan that the dog is a killer, but, unafraid, Joan pets the dog, then releases him and he runs away. Thorpe recognizes Joan as Jim Raddison’s sister. Thorpe believes his own sister was ruined by Raddison, and plots revenge against Joan. The note arrives from Pierre, but because Frank is drunk, Joan asks Thorpe to accompany her. McCready hastens to reach the dying man first. Meanwhile, Kazan has joined a wolf pack. Along the trail, Thorpe seizes Joan to exact his revenge, but the cry of an approaching wolf pack prevents him from harming her. Thorpe’s pack dogs are killed in a fight, but Joan’s cry is recognized by Kazan, who turns on the wolves and runs them off. McCready arrives at Pierre’s cabin, but the dying man has hidden the evidence in a watch, which he places with other papers in a box. He hands the box to McCready, telling him it contains evidence against his son’s killer. While Pierre sleeps, McCready opens the door and window, letting in the deadly cold air. He leaves with the box, but cannot find the evidence. Thorpe, who is wounded and snowblind, is taken to Pierre’s cabin by Joan and Kazan.

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They find Pierre frozen to death. During a blizzard, McCready seeks shelter in the cabin. He knocks out Thorpe and attacks Joan. Once again her screams are heard by Kazan, who comes to the rescue. McCready escapes to a settlement, and claims he has evidence that Thorpe is Jim Raddison’s killer. Joan discovers the evidence that proves McCready’s guilt, and sends Frank to the authorities. McCready again tries to attack Joan, but this time Kazan kills the villain. Thorpe realizes he loves Joan, and the two find happiness.

The film was based upon a story by James Oliver Curwood. Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “an entertaining picturization of James Oliver Curwood’s novel of the same title,” adding “this feature has been remarkably well handled.” The Film Daily also praised the film, calling it “an excellent production ad undoubtedly the best yet from Curwood.” The journal especially praised the performance of Kazan, writing “the animal has been marvelously trained and the manner in which he fights a lynx which has destroyed his young and kills the animal right before the camera, as well as a later scene which shows in silhouette how he jumps at the throat of the man who is attacking his mistress and fells him, are fine bits.”

I wondered if anyone objected to the animal fight scenes in the film; it didn’t take me long to find this, from The Pasadena (California) Post, which lambasted the movie: “Made realistic through the cruel sacrifice of living things, it becomes shocking and abhorrent. It is understood that Curwood superintended the filming. If this is true he should abandon his role as a lover of wild animals. In that role he is a poseur. … Kazan is shown chasing a rabbit, which with his wolf mate, the dog tears to bits. The rabbit had been tethered, perhaps so Kazan might not be subjected to over-exertion in catching it. Later the offspring of the pair are killed by a mountain lion, while the mother defending them, has her eyes scratched out apparently. Kazan returns in time to kill the marauding cat that dies on the screen with very realistic agony. Even the sledge dogs are lashed and kicked and beaten. … “Kazan” has many striking features as a spectacle, but these do not serve to redeem it, or to restore Curwood to standing. The picture would arouse the hatred and horror of any lover of God’s wild and helpless creatures.”

The Poli continued their tradition of flashing World Series updates on the screen after each inning was completed. The New York Giants went on to win the 1922 World Series over the New York Yankees, four games to none, with one tie (the game was called because of darkness).

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11 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

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I love the  "World Series results flashed on screen after each completed inning at the Polo Grounds, New York City" idea! 1922 World Series- New York Giants and New York Yankees (Giants win in four with one game ending in a tie.)

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From October 8-11, 1922, the feature at the Poli was Why Announce Your Marriage? starring Elsie Hammerstein as Arline Mayfair and Niles Welch as Jimmy Winthrop. The film was released in January of 1922 at five reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Arline Mayfair is a successful illustrator, popular, and independent financially.

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She is in love with Jimmy Winthrop, manager of the brokerage business owned by her wealthy uncle, David Mayfair. Jimmy pleads with Arline to marry him, but she is worried that marriage would spoil her future as an artist.

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She also feels that married people see too much of each other and become unhappy. Jimmy then suggests they secretly marry and never announce it.

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Arline consents to this idea. The two are happily married, but continue their vow not to tell anyone. Uncle David is angry that the pair do not marry. Soon after, there is a party in Greenwich Village, and the attendees suggest that Arline should be there.

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So they set out for her studio apartment to get her. Arline and Jimmy are having lunch when the party arrives. Jimmy hides as Arline greets her friends. She begs off the invitation, complaining of a headache, and her friends depart. But before they leave, they notice a man’s gloves, and cigar stubs. Teddy Filbert, an inebriated partygoer, suggests they all go to Jimmy’s apartment and tell him Arline is seeing someone. In the meantime, Jimmy and Arline leave her apartment and go to Jimmy’s apartment, hoping to find peace and quiet. When the party arrives, their suspicions are aroused when they find traces of a woman’s presence in Jimmy’s rooms. They leave, determined to break off their acquaintance with Arline. Arline heads for a summer resort, and Jimmy occasionally drives out for an evening or weekend. Their friends soon follow, and one evening they are stunned to see Jimmy, in pajamas, in Arline’s bungalow. Uncle David demands an explanation, and Jimmy produces their marriage certificate. Teddy says “th’ cute li’l devils were married all the time.” The partygoers ask for forgiveness and everyone is happy.

Teddy Filbert was portrayed by Arthur Housman, who made a career out of playing drunks on screen. He is at the right in the still below, with Hammerstein to his right:

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The Film Daily was lukewarm, calling the film an “average offering with bedroom farce situations and fair though not important comedy sequence,” but they did add “Miss Hammerstein is always a pleasing heroine regardless of the role she is given, and while that of Arline Mayfair is by no means the best they could give her, she makes it interesting through her personality, for one reason.” Moving Picture World noted “those responsible are to be complimented upon having evolved a thoroughly entertaining photoplay on an unhackneyed theme. The subject has been treated humorously with the introduction of farce comedy complications, and some of the scenes while in themselves inclined to be risqué are saved by the knowledge of the spectator that the young couple are actually married.” Finally, Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “an exceptionally good comedy based on a story which lends itself to many funny and somewhat perplexing situations, and in the filming no opportunities are lost. Well cast and with good photography, it should prove a good attraction.”

Several trade journals suggested that the idea from the story came from the real-life situation of novelist Fannie Hurst, who was secretly married for quite some time before revealing it to the public. Hurst felt that by living apart from each other, a married couple could more easily pursue their own careers and still remain happy.

 

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From October 12-14, 1922, the Poli presented I Am the Law, starring Alice Lake as Joan Cameron, Kenneth Harlan as Corporal Bob Fitzgerald, Noah Beery as Sergeant Georges Mordeaux, Rosemary Theby as Mrs. Georges Mordeaux, Gaston Glass as Ralph Fitzgerald, and Wallace Beery as Fu Chang. The film was released in May of 1922 at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Sergeant Georges Mordeaux reprimands Constable Ralph Fitzgerald for drinking on duty.

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Mordeaux’s wife is having an affair with Ralph. Ralph leaves the post to take his brother Bob’s place, and to tell him he is to report for duty at the post. Meanwhile, Bob Fitzgerald has been sent to find Joan Cameron. Cameron is being held as practically a prisoner by Fu Chang.

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Bob rescues Joan, killing Fu Chang in the process.

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The two set out for the post, stopping at a deserted cabin for the night. Bob falls for Joan.

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Ralph arrives and hands Bob his orders. Bob turns Joan over to Ralph and heads out. Ralph turns his attention to Joan, and gets her to agree to an engagement.

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Bob discovers Ralph is having an affair with Mrs. Mordeaux and warns him to stop it, but Ralph refuses.

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While Sergeant Mordeaux is away, Ralph goes to see his wife. But the Sergeant returns unexpectedly.

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Enraged at what he sees, he attacks Ralph with his whip.

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During the struggle, Ralph seizes the Sergeant’s gun and shoots him to death.

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Bob rushes in, but Ralph escapes on the Sergeant’s dog team. Bob sets out in pursuit of his brother. Ralph seeks refuge with Joan. During the hunt, Bob crashes through ice and is nearly killed, but continues the chase. When he finally catches his brother, Bob is taken ill with pneumonia. Believing he is dying, Bob signs a confession, stating he killed Sergeant Mordeaux, to save his brother from hanging. Ralph takes the confession and returns to the post, where he is given orders to bring Bob in.

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Meanwhile, Bob recovers, and as Joan nurses him back to health, she realizes it is he she really loves.

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The two flee, but Ralph catches them.

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He handcuffs Bob, bringing him back to the post.  Joan pleads with the commanding officer, telling him Bob is innocent, to no avail.

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A crazed mob decides they will lynch Bob. Joan then goes to see Sergeant Mordeaux’s wife, begging her to tell the truth about the murder.

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When the woman refuses, Joan drags her in front of the crowd, where she is forced to confess that Ralph murdered her husband. Ralph, unwilling to face justice, poisons himself.

The still below shows Alice Lake atop a snowman between scenes:

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The next still shows Lake, Kenneth Harlan, and Gaston Glass horsing around behind the camera:

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The final two stills show director Edwin Carewe (on crutches) directing the three stars:

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Motion Picture News praised the film, writing “there is a vitality about this picture that which keeps you on the anxious seat. It comes to the screen as an exceptionally vivid entertainment packed with adventure, action, romance and pathos with no flaws except one or two minor scenes which need a title or two.” The Film Daily was also impressed, calling the film “a first rate dramatic entertainment with good situations and fine actions,” adding “the production is rich in pictorial appeal. Many beautiful shots of snow covered country are found in the backgrounds and some of the shots are slightly, though delightfully tinted.”

Several newspapers advertised the film as being based upon the story “The Poetic Justice of Uko San,” written by James Oliver Curwood. But Curwood’s story involved three bears encountered by two men hunting in the north woods, which bore no semblance to the film. Curwood brought suit against the filmmakers, claiming they had paid him for the screen rights to the story, but not the use of his name in connection with I Am the Law. Judge D. J. Knox, of the Southern District Court of New York, sided with Curwood. Knox wrote “in the main, the plots of complainant’s fiction are laid in the Canadian north-west, and frequently have as prominent characters thereof members of the north-west mounted police. Most of the novels have been reproduced in motion pictures. These, too, have met with success, some of them having yielded retails of more than five hundred thousand dollars. In connection with the exploitation of such pictures, Curwood’s name has been prominently advertised and displayed. Unquestionably, it is now associated by many moving picture distributors and patrons with stories having to do with forests, streams, snow, ice and romance as they are, or imagined to be, in the sub-arctic regions of this continent. That this association is of value to plaintiff may be indicated by testimony offered herein, to the effect that the moving picture rights of one of plaintiff’s stories sold for more than fifty thousand dollars. …It is claimed that what defendants have done in advertising and producing their picture, ‘I Am the Law’ as being based upon Curwood’s story, ‘The Poetic Justice of Uko San’ injures his standing, reputation and prestige; and is in derogation of his civil rights, and further, that the picture ‘I Am the Law’ is a piratical adaptation of complainant’s stories, ‘The River’s End’ and ‘The Valley of Silent Men.’

Also on the bill were Francis X. Bushman and his then wife Beverly Bayne, in a one-act comedy entitled “Poor Rich Man.” A year earlier, the pair had appeared in a four-act play entitled “The Master Mind.”

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From October 15-18, 1922, the Poli ran Yankee Doodle Jr., starring J. Frank Glendon as John Arnold Jr. and Phalba Morgan as Zorra Gamorra. The five-reel film was released in 1920 under the title Roman Candles and then re-released in 1922 as Yankee Doodle Jr. The Library of Congress holds a complete copy.

Plot: John Arnold Jr., the lazy son of a fireworks manufacturer, is forced by his father to go to work. He is offered a job traveling for his father’s company and is given until six o’clock the same day to accept. In order to decide what territory he shall cover, he jabs a pen at a spinning globe. The pen sticks on a South American republic known for its many revolutions. Upon arrival, he finds a revolution in progress, and manages to gain a meeting with the new dictator.

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Arnold convinces him that he should celebrate his newly acquired power with a festival and fireworks. He gets the order, but he then meets and falls for Zorra Gamorra, the daughter of the former president.

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Arnold decides to help out the former president and smuggles a guard into the palace, whereby the revolutionaries are kicked out. For a brief moment, Arnold finds himself dictator of the country, but soon turns the power over to the former president. When a mob attacks the palace, they are defeated when hundreds of Roman Candles are shot at them from above. The new president plans a celebration, and declares that all who come with fireworks will be admitted for free. Arnold wires home for more fireworks, and does a booming business.

The still below could not be placed in context. It shows Glendon, Morgan, and Jack Pratt (who also directed):

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Some scenes were filmed in Balboa Park. According to one trade journal, some of the fireworks scenes were shot in color.

The Film Daily praised the film, writing that it was “filled with interest, humor, adventure that is convincing and romance that is pleasing,” adding that it “presents no domestic problems and contains no sex stuff. It doesn’t preach and it avoids all highbrow philosophies. It is just a straight, clean, censor-proof, entertaining and well balanced production that has pep and will touch the right spot of any American audience.” Exhibitor’s Herald concurred, noting “devoid of sex and domestic problems, and filled with rapid-fire action relieved by good clean comedy, this wholesome American story comes as a great relief from the usual run of picture plays.” Moving Picture World wrote “it has story, thrill – everything. And then some.” Motion Picture News wrote that the film was “rollicking, never-ceasing, sure fire incident of the live and peppy Yankee boy who starts out to make good and does it with a vengeance.”

Phalba Morgan was billed as Zelda Morgan in the stills I found, presumably from the re-release. A Dallas native, Morgan was “discovered” while visiting friends in California. Her film career was brief; she later had a small part (as Phalba Morgan) in the 1928 film A Girl in Every Port. In 1924, she married Andrew Wylie Kelly Jr., from a wealthy New York family. However, the marriage ended in divorce in 1926 on charges of cruelty. Morgan asserted that her husband seized her by the wrist while she was sleeping, jerked her to the floor, and stood above her “in an attitude of rage.” She hid in the bathroom until he calmed down.

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From October 19-21, 1922, the Poli presented The Hands of Nara, starring Clara Kimball Young as Nara Alexieff, Vernon Steele as Adam Pine, Elliot Dexter as Emlen Claveloux, and Edwin Stevens as Connor Lee. The film was released in August of 1922 at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Nara Alexieff is the daughter of Boris Alexieff, a wealthy landowner in Russia. Caught up in the Russian revolution, Alexieff is determined to send his daughter to America. He is murdered and his home burned. Nara hides in the home of revolutionaries, but is arrested.

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With the help of a revolutionary, she eventually escapes to the United States. Arriving in America, she takes up quarters in a tenement on the East Side of New York. There, she makes the acquaintance of Vanessa Yates, a wealthy woman, who takes her under her wing. At a reception given by Yates, Nara meets Emlen Claveloux, a young doctor. The two become interested in each other.

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Elsewhere in the Yates home, Emma Gammell, who is social secretary to Mrs. Yates, is in love with Adam Pine, a sculptor. Noticing Nara’s beautiful hands, Pine has created a sculpture of them. Emlen catches Nara and Pine in what he believes is a compromising position, causing Nara to leave the Yates home. She returns to her tenement, and recalls that she delivered a letter from a Russian revolutionary she befriended, to a man named Connor Lee. Unknown to Nara, Lee is a con artist. He sees Nara’s wonderful hands, and convinces her she has the power to heal the sick. Nara begins to perform “miracles” with her hands, which catches the attention of Dr. Haith Claveloux, father of Emlen Claveloux. Dr. Claveloux has no faith in spiritualism, and is determined to expose Lee. One day while Nara and Lee are together, Dr. Claveloux goes to see her. Lee excuses himself, and tells Nara to see the doctor. In reality, Lee flees and leaves behind a note, telling Nara he is going away for good because he fears the doctor. Nara’s faith in her healing is destroyed. Ironically, Dr. Claveloux had not come to expose Lee, but to seek Nara’s help in working a miracle on his wife, who is dying. Nara, her confidence broken, refuses, but the doctor convinces her to try. Nara goes to the Claveloux household; miraculously the doctor’s wife recovers. Emlen comes to his parents’ house, skeptical over what has happened.

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But his mother convinces him that Nara has cured her.

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Emlen asks Nara to forgive him for the incident involving her and Adam Pine, and the two embrace.

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The film was based upon a novel of the same name, written by Richard Washburn Child.

Most reviews were negative. Photoplay, in their usual succinct way, wrote “they’re slender – the hands – and so is the plot, although a good story by Richard Washburn Child has been slaughtered to make it that way.” Exhibitor’s Herald panned the film, calling it “too lengthy” with “poor direction and poor lighting,” adding “it is slow-moving and not at all impressive except in spots … not the strongest of Miss Young’s recent vehicles.” Motion Picture Magazine agreed, writing “here is a picture which possesses possibilities but which have been neglected in the development. …it’s talky and “walky” – the titles being very frequent and the characters ever on parade … it has taken four subtitles and three views of New York harbor to get her [Young] into the United States. If these faith healers could only put their hands upon the plots and make them well – such types of stories would carry more significance.” Motion Picture News piled on, writing “either the scenario writer of the director has been guilty of the error of omission of not balancing the various episodes properly. Without exception each one of them is dragged out quite unmercifully.” The Film Daily wrote “at the outset the picture promises to be a thoroughly interesting one dealing with the flight of a Russian refugee and her subsequent arrival in America where her beauty attracts an artist. But at this point there is a break and the story resolves into a long discussion on faith as a healer, with the various characters taking opposite sides in the controversy until the feature becomes little short of a screen debate.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review called the film “an exasperating sort of yarn, which wanders about bewilderingly in blind pathways of utterly superfluous detail and has little to recommend it outside of some excellent photography, ornate sets and a lavish display of gowns warranted to charm the feminine eye.” However, Moving Picture World was more sympathetic, noting “the theme … is driven home, and the picture possesses appeal to the intellect as well as entertainment value. … Some of the sets are above the average, and the gowns worn are strikingly beautiful. The picture starts off with a punch and maintains a good rate of speed in development of plot, despite the necessity for elaborate characterization.”

The part of Boris Alexieff was portrayed by Count John Orloff, in what appears to have been his only major film. From what I could find, he must have been an interesting character. He claimed to be a blood relative of Czar Nicholas and a descendant of Count Orloff, who was famous for giving the Empress Catherine the Orloff diamond (which weighed almost 195 carats). He also claimed to have been a captain in a Cossack regiment. When he was ordered to shoot peasants, he refused, broke his sword across his knee, and fled Russia. He arrived in America, and enlisted in the United States army, serving for three years. When he received a furlough, he believed it was the same as a discharge, and did not return to duty. In 1911, he was arrested as a deserter and court-martialed. He was found guilty of “technical desertion” but allowed to go free. Orloff always seemed to be barely one step ahead of the law. On his wedding day in 1912, he was accosted by a creditor and two detectives. He was charged with selling a typewriter which did not belong to him. The Count’s best man, L. M. Czar (you can’t make this stuff up) posted bail for his friend. The Count’s marriage ended in divorce a few years later when his wife realized he was living off her money. In late 1922, Orloff was arrested for taking part in a plot to flood the United States with counterfeit Bank of England notes. When Secret Service agents arrived at his home and discovered he was not in, they set a trap for him. They claimed to be from Jesse Lasky’s studios, and told the suspicious housekeeper “we are about to film a new and more elaborate version of the Count of Monte Cristo and we have a star role for him.  It will probably mean steady work for two years.” The housekeeper then informed the agents that Orloff would be home that evening, and they were welcome to come back. They did, and arrested him while he was still in bed.

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