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May 13, 1922
LVDY DIANA MANNERS IN
(J. STUART BLACKTON) Interesting mainly because of its being the first five-reel drama to be produced entirely in color, and with a titled lady for its featured player. Based upon the great fire of London, it contains some interesting and beautiful pictures. Produced by J. Stuart Blackton with practically an all-English cast. Length seven reels. Laboring with a cast, few of whom ;eem to be capable of portraying their espective roles, J. Stuart Blackton, pioneer in America, has given us a novel iroduction in "The Great Adventure" feauring Lady Diana Manners. The cast s not particularly strong, the best work ;eing done by Cecil Humphreys as Roddick, the villain, and Flora Le Breton is Rosemary. Lennox Pawle is satisfac:ory as Samuel Pepys, while Victor McLaglan was good in spots, overacting ,omewhat.
The story is a bit confusing, too many ;haracters being introduced, many of ivhom reallv are immaterial to the main ilot
Hugh Argyle, a lad of about fourteen, eaves home, biding good-bye to his ittle sweetheart, the Lady Beatrice Fair played by Violet Blackton), and promsing to treasure the locket she has given lim. Years later, he returns as he has >een notified he is heir to vast estates and i title. He sends word of his coming to he Lady Beatrice, now grown to young .vomanhood (Lady Diana Manners). On :he boat Roderick plans to have Hugh <illed and take his place himself. His lenchman, Bulfinch, gtabs Hugh and hrows him overboard. Then Roderick aetrays his hireling and Bulfinch is taken jack to England in chains, vowing vengeance on Roderick. The Lady Beatrice s forced to entertain her King, Charles 2nd, and he takes a fancy to her. Nell jvvynn (played by the Hon. Lois Heath) s one of the guests. Nell is a rough little loyden, indulging in rude pranks when:ver occasion offers. Roderick, believing 3ugh dead, claims his estates, being aided )y a rascally solicitor, and makes his bow o Lady Beatrice, who cannot believe this s really Hugh. Forced to journey to London, Lady Beatrice stops at the Inn .vhere Roderick is staying. Hugh turns ip and puts up an excellent fight with not )nly the rascally Roderick, but half a lozen other blades. Lady Diana falls in ove with him, although, for one of those easons without which "there wouldn't be io story," Hugh does not make known lis identity. Much plotting and counterdotting ensues during which Hugh en:ounters Roderick again in London when ie is on his way to marry the Lady Bearice and is made prisoner. She, fearing mprisonment for debt, marries Bulfinch, ondemned to die on the morrow. The peat fire of London breaks out, and Bulinch gets out, seeks the Lady, carries ler all over London, through flames and >ver debris, seeking a safe place to keep ler, seemingly. Hugh appears, the two ire trapped, Bulfinch saves them, but "laims Lady Beatrice as his bride and just vhen it looks blackest for the lovers, the ;ood old situation of a wife and sevral children is resorted to — Bulfinch is laimed and goes away with his family.
There is much that is novel in the proluction, but it suffers from too many haracters.
LON CHANEY IN
(UNIVERSAL) Rare entertainment here. An interesting drama of the trappers' country of the North. Story of more than usual merit, with that very finished actor, Lon Chaney, giving a real characterization. The photography is excellent throughout and the atmosphere of a typical north-woods settlement is well carried out. Directed by Robert Thornby. Five reels. This is Lon Chaney's first starring vehicle for Universal and in it exhibitors have a good bet. It is about as good a story as has come along for some time and was written by Chaney himself. It tells a direct, simple story of FrenchCanadian people, of a big hearted man, disappointed in love and robbed of his property, who waits seven years for his revenge — and then forfeits it. The picture was made for the most part in the open, at Bear Lake, and is beautifully photographed.
Chaney has the principal role, that of Gaspard the Good. He returns from a successful trip to his traps to fine Thalie, his sweetheart, deeply interested in Benson, a newcomer. VVher he goes to his mine he finds Benson's men in possession, he having acquired it through a legal technicality. Broken in health and spirit, Gaspard waits. Benson marries Thalie and in the seven years that follows she is taken sick and dies, leaving a son. Benson is thrown into jail for shooting a Swede, whom Gaspard urges to fight Benson. Gaspard takes the child to his cabin and, knowing Benson will come to claim him upon his release from prison, he plans an awful revenge. He arranges a trap at his cabin into which he hopes Benson will walk and be killed by a hungry wolf he has penned up. The boy, however, walks into Gaspard's trap
and Gaspard is nearly killed rescuing him. Then comes Benson, and Gaspard, having learned a lesson, turns the child over to his father and bids them Godspeed.
SPECIAL CAST IN
THE SPANISH JADE
(PARAMOUNT) A story of Spain, atmospherically sound but otherwise mediocre. Unconvincing melodrama somewhat hysterically enacted. Brilliant photography the chief asset. A John S. Robertson production in five reels from a play by Louis Joseph Vance.
The reaction of an American audience to "The Spanish Jade" will upset tradition if it is favorable. The picture is poorly constructed, tells a flimsy story in ragged continuity and frequently childish subtitles; in short, falls far short of the standard set by American producing units working abroad.
David Powell and Marc McDermott are badly handicapped by story and support. The large cast is made up of strangers, apparently foreign, who display considerably less ability than is commonly observed in importations. The chief villain, a burly fellow whom one observer remarked slightly resembled Rodolph Valentino, is Harry Ham.
The story is a weird account of the rise from rags to romantic happiness negotiated by "The Spanish Jade," stepdaughter of a guzzling gambler, who sells her for gold. Stilettos flash frequently and grotesque donkeys are ridden madly about in the assault-escapemurder-trial-prison-vindication sequence that leads to the happy ending. An American writer, from Boston, who figures in the plot is very badly caricatured.
As noted above, some very good photography is accomplished in the picture. There is very little else to command attention.
A picturesque scene from "The Spanish Jade," in which David Powell is starred. It was adapted from Louis Joseph Vance's play and the novel by Maurice Hewlett. A Paramount production.