Motion Picture News (Mar-Apr 1923)

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1454 Motion Picture News " The Famous Mrs. Fair " Niblo-Metro — Eight Reels (Reviewed by Laurence Reid) THE splendid treatment which Fred Niblo has given this adaptation of a popular Broadway success a couple of seasons ago, coupled with some unusually good philosophy which is well emphasized, and atmosphere and acting of a first rate order make " The Famous Mrs. Fair." a picture which is certain to be appreciated everywhere. For one thing it contains a fine audience appeal due to its conflict in the home — the theme carrying, as it does, the dissolution of a family because of the absence of any maternal interest. Niblo has brought out in admirable fashion the logic of the play, dwelling upon the feminine urge to find expression — just as it served as the pivot of dramatic events in the play. If there is any criticism to be made of the feature it may be aimed at its length. The prologue should be shortened since it only serves in planting the cause for the conflict in the home. The war is responsible for much upheaval in the way the human race has since conducted itself. The author, James Forbes, could not have struck a more genuine note than playing upon the search for expression of the modern woman. Once Mrs. Fair comes back from Europe and becomes " The Famous Mrs. Fair," the picture develops an interest which will carry it far in pubic appeal. None of the scenes are farfetched. What is shown could reasonably happen. There is good, sound philosophy and drama neatly interwoven. Mrs. Fair takes to the lecture platform. As a result her house tumbles to pieces, for Mr. Fair is not the type of man to pay much attention to " happiness in the home." He carries on an intrigue with a gay widow, the boy marries a girl who is not of his social station, and the daughter after joining a fast jazzy set, elopes with a worthless lounge lizard. Mrs. Fair returns home and the conflict is dramatically effective when a divorce is contemplated between the couple. But their differences are forgotten in the search to save the daughter from disgrace. Once the mother learns her true position in the scheme of things — that her place belongs in the home the picture solves its story and logic. It is a most fitting conclusion to a picture which contains a whole volume of good sound logic. Through the agency of the voice the play, insofar as its climax is concerned, proved more sustaining in suspense. However, the screen version is one example that a good play can be made into a good photoplay with a little expenditure of imagination and common sense. The Cast Mrs. Fair... • Myrtle Stedman Jeffrey Fair Huntley Gordon Sylvia Pair..... Marguerite De La Motte Alan Fair Cullen Landis Dudley Gillette... Ward Crane Angy Brice Carmel Myers Pegrv Helen Ferguson Buddies Lydia Yeamans Titus, Dorcas Matthews, Frankie Bailey, Josephine Kirkwood, Muriel Beresford, Eva Mudge, Kathleen Chambers, Peggy Blackwood. By James Forbes. Scenario by Frances Marion. Directed by Fred Niblo. Photographed by The Story — Treats of a wife and mother who returns from the war with considerable fame for her work over there. She goes upon a lecture tour and returns to find her home crumbling to pieces. Her husband has been ensnared by a giddy widew — her son has married a girl who does not quite fit in the mother's social scheme, and the daughter has eloped with a man of doubtful character. In the search for the girl the husband and wife are reconciled. Classification — Domestic drama involving triangle situation. Production Highlight — Myrtle Stedman's good performance. The good support. Good atmosphere. Splendid treatment of story by director. The dramatic climax. Exploitation Angles — Might play up theme using catch lines, etc. Give the director a plav. Tell that he directed "Blood and Sand." Scene from the " Our Gang " comedy, " The Big Show," Pathe two reeler. " The Grub-Stake " American Releasing — Six Reels (Reviewed by L. C. Moen) AFTER a reel or so of rather uninteresting rative, this picture finally becomes a typical Alaskan melodrama with a bold, bad villain who has brought the innocent young sea captain's daughter into the Klondike for immoral purposes, and plenty of snow stuff, wild animals and huskies to interest those who like the "Far North" sort of production. As a story "The Grub Stake" lacks in plot, construction and continuity. It creaks in many places and never holds attention as a whole. However, after the characters once reach the Alaskan locale, individual sequences do carry excellent interest. There is some very fine scenic stuff, a parade of wild animals in their native haunts, a number of realistic storm scenes and splendid atmosphere. The cast is good, being fine types and well known to picture audiences. Miss Shipman in the first part of the picture seems badly cast, over acting and making a general poor impression in trying to get over the character she portrays, that of an ultra innocent and unsophisticated young girl. Later, however, she gets to the kind of material in which she specializes and the general result is satisfactory. As a whole the production ranks with any of the star's recent releases and should go over especially well after the weather gets warm. The Cast Faith Diggs Hell Shipman Jeb Hugh Thompson Mark Leroy Alfred Allen Malemate Mike George Berrell The " Skipper " Walt Whitman The Mounty C. K. Van Auker Wong Ah Wing Directed by Bert Van Tuyle. Written by Nell . . Shipman. Produced by Bert Van Tuyle. . . The Story — Alaskan gambler entices young girl to Klondike through a fake marriage. The girl learns the truth, and with her invalid father makes her escape. She becomes lost in the wilds and after hardships is discovered by the son of a dance hall woman, who has a cabin in the hills. A romance develops. Classification — Snow and north woods picture with educational interest because of the wild animals shown. Production Highlights — Storm sequences, dance hall episode and antics of a number of bears. Exploitation Angles— Opportunity for atmospheric lobby displays. Chance for " Klondike " prologue. Wild animal scenes. Star and cast. Drawing Power— Should go best in houses that prefer melodrama and action pictures. Don't Depend on Competitor Opinions He's unreliable! Today in one "Column," great — in another, "Rotten." Be protected by and read SCnttnOPilllOIIS, A Real Investment CHICAGO, ILL. " The Isle jf Lost Ships " Tourneur-First National — Eight Reels (Reviewed by Laurence Reid) HERE is one of the greatest novelties which ever found its way to the silversheet. It shows Maurice Tourneur as a director who is almost in a class by himself as a dispenser of atmosphere. Such a story as " The Isle of Lost Ships " is not the easiest thing to translate for the screen. It calls for much ingenuity of setting, much local color, much atmosphere and much realism. Yet Tourneur has assembled these points and made them into a picture which is unusually interesting not only from the standpoint of fantastic design, but also because of its fascinating story of adventure. Call it improbable, yet it is staged with such genuine realism that one instinctively feels like an actual participant. There is no planting of incident. With bold strokes Tourneur plunges into his narrative and with a crescendo of action and suspense the action carries one along in the deepest suspense. Some of the individual shots will inspire many with an eerie feeling. For instance, when the ship strikes a derelict and drifts into the " isle of lost ships " in the Saragosso Sea where other boats from other centuries to modern times are floating about on a bed of kelp or sea-weed. The dramatic action is finely emphasized. And the adventure ke»ps pace throughout every scene. There has never been shown a finer stroke of colorful realism than the storm at sea with huge waves crashing over the decks. The suspense overwhelms when one wonders what is to become of the little group of three survivors — one of whom is an escaped convict, another a detective bringing him back to the States, and the third the fair heroine who is in this story for the sake of romance. It is the sequence which shows the boat marooned in the legendary isle which emphasizes the note of adventure. Here is Tourneur giving a display of wonderful photographic effects — submarine shots, ancient Spanish galleons, modern liners all assembled with marvelous detail and atmosphere to give it background. And in this colony dwell a motley group of derelicts who are ruled by a vicious officer. He desires the girl but the convict overpowers him and is crowned king of the isle. Then to the fantastic climax when the shipwrecked people attempt to escape in a submarine— a scene which is as exciting and realistic as painstaking attention to detail can make it. "The Isle of Lost Ships" will have them talking about it for a long time. It excites the senses as well as the imagination— a genuine novelty which takes the spectator on a highly picturesque journey. It offers many new and surprising features. Put it down as a sure bet. And get it quick. The Cast Dorothy Fairfax Anna Q. Nilsson Frank Howard Milton Sills Detective Jackson Frank Campeau Peter Forbes Walter Long Patrick Joyce Bert Woodruff Mother Joyce Aggie Herring Captain Clark Hershall Mayall By Crittendon Mariott. Directed by Maurice Tourneur. Produced by M. C. Levee. Released The Story — Steamer from West Indies strikes a derelict and is on verge of sinking. All the passengers escape with the exception of a girl, an escaped convict and a detective. The boat drifts into the " isle of lost ships " in the Saragosso Sea — which proves to be a colony presided over by a certain captain and a motley group of men. The convict is married to the srirl after he whips the brutal captain and they manage to escape the " isle of lost ships " when they take to a derelict submarine and are rescued by a United States destroyer. Classification — Fantastic sea picture releasing much mystery, adventure, melodrama and romance. Production Highlights — The many novel touches. The fine photography. The marvelous detail and atmosphere. The continual suspense. Draiving Powei — Suitable for any house anywhere.