Motion Picture News (Mar-Apr 1923)

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1954 Motion Picture News " East Side, West Side " Irving Cummings-Principal Pictures — Six Reels (Reviewed by L. C. MoenJ NEW YORK offers a fertile field for drama, with its strong contrasts and its infinite variety of characters and setting. It is, as the opening subtitle of " East Side, West Side " points out, a veritable cross-section of the world, where the utmost contrasts of poverty and affluence are to be found within the range of a few scant blocks. The contrast is the basis of " East Side, West Side." The plot is based on the interweaving of the lives of two sets of characters — the one, a group of three widely differing girls, living in a scantily furnished room, and tne other, a wealthy ramily not far away, suffering from too much money and not enough interest in life. The three girls are a strangely assorted trio — one, a girl determined to achieve luxury at any price, another, a victim of tuberculosis, morally weak, but kept straight by her unattractive appearance and by the mothering of the third, who is the heroine of the piece, Lory James. Tne first girl leaves them to occupy an apartment on Central Park West. Through tne efforts of a kindly doctor, Lory gets some typing work from Duncan van Norman, a memoer of tne wealthy family mentioned, a writer on psychology. This young man has grown extremely sell-centered and the doctor teels that an interest outside of his work is what he needs. He responds to the treatment and the girl is installed in the van Norman home as his secretary. H. G. Wells once observed that a man and woman can rarely work together long without becoming emotional, and what happens in this instance bears him out. Duncan Decomes human — falls in love with his secretary— and then social barriers commence to get in their work. Finally, convinced by his mother that she is standing in his way, Lory leaves. Then, when Duncan abandons his inheritance to ask her to marry him, their dawning happiness is suddenly clouded by her inheritance of a half million dolars. But Lory has made her mind up, and being a young woman of determination, there is nothing for Duncan to do but marry her. Kenneth Harlan gives a well shaded characterization of the neurotic young man, and Eileen Percy is excellent at times as the girl. Wally Van is a reminiscent figure, lending two good comedy sequences to the opus. The Cast Duncan van Norman Kenneth Harlan Lory James Eileen Percy Skiddy Stillman Wally Van rrom the play by Leighton Osmun and Henry Hull. Adapted by Hope Loring and Louis Duryea Lighton. Directed by Irving Cummings. Photographed by Albert Martinelli. An Irving Cummings Production. The Story — Contrasts wealthy family in one quarter of New York with three girls living in poverty, in another section. Through a kindly doctor, a friend of the wealthy family, the heroine is installed as secretary to the son, of whom she proceeds to make a human being. When his mother finds that he is falling in love with the girl, she persuades her to go away. He rebels, however, and when she threatens to disinherit him, asks girl to marry him. Girl then inherits a fortune, erecting a new barrier between them, but girl finally surmounts this. Classification — Heart interest melodrama of New York life. Production Highlights — The work of Kenneth Harlan and Eileen Percy. Wally Van's cave-man scene and his fight. The pleasing interiors. Exploitation Angles — Play up the idea that here is a picture showing the shadows and highlights of life in Manhattan. Use the old song, "On the Sidewalks of New York," from which the line, "East Side, West Side" is taken. The three featured players. Drawing Power — The New York life angle should draw well in the smaller cities. Suitable for second class downtown and for neighborhood houses. Scene from Hallroom Boys comedy " Tin Knights in a Hallroom." "Dead Game" Universal — Five Reels (Reviewed by Laurence Reid) AN interruption of a weddin' party furnishes the idea for Hoot Gibson's latest. " Dead Game " lives up to its title and more, for the star is compelled to outwit a pair of crafty villains as well as an ornery lot of cow-punchers to save the girl from the matrimonial noose and lift the mortgage from her ranch. It is a lively little western, somewhat inconsistent in its development, but carrying enough fast-moving action to please most of the boys and a few of the girls. Hoot learns that his sweetheart's guardian has spirited her away to marry her off to a wealthy schemer. So he mounts his horse, rides into the town, places a bet with the villain that his weddin' won't come off as anticipated and wins. In order to accomplish things he places a dummy in his bed, sneaks out of the hotel and holds up the stage which is bringing her to the place, secretes her in her rancn house and returns to his bed with no one the wiser. The heroine is sort of negative inasmuch as she doesn't seem to know her own mind First she scorns the cowboy — and then th< villain, and after the latter is disappointed she is spirited away again by her crafty guardian. This, of course, makes her out as lacking in intelligence. Then Hoot appears in a different shirt and hat when he makes his departure from the bedroom. Another slight error shows him strong enough to subdue a stray horse in the desert after he has been without food or water for two days. But these are minor slips which do not discredit the speedy action. The hero is captured by the villain's hirelings and taken into the desert wastes, which gives the archplotter an opportunity to stage another weddin' party and Hoot another opportunity to rescue her. He rides through the window and takes her from the altar and the villains are sent on their way. Robert McKim is in character as one of these boys, but Harry Carter overacts. Gibson does his work with his customary vigor. In all a pretty good western. The Players Ed (Hoot) Gibson Laura La Plante Harry Carter Robert McKim William Welsh Tony West William Steele By Edward Sedgwick. Directed by "Edward Sedgwick. Photographed by Charles Kaufman. Produced by Universal. The Story — Cowpuncher learns that his sweetheart has been supirited away. He is determined to rescue her from an unwelcome marriage and succeeds after various adventures. He proves himself "dead game" in thwarting the villains and marries the girl. Classification — Western melodrama. Production Highlights — The lively action. The fair suspense. The scene when Gibson routs the villain and kidnaps the girl. The scene when he steals the girl from the altar. Exploitation Angles — Title might be worked out in a snappy teaser campaign. Play it up as lively and interesting and a good vehicle for the star. Drawing Power — Good for small houses in neighborhood. Also suitable for second class downtown housei. " Refuge " First National— 6000 Feet (Reviewed by Frank Shelton) AND still another picture of the " Graustark " type comes to the screen. Mythical kingdoms, a beautiful countess in distress, piots against the throne, a missing prince who is *' present " all through the story, much braided uniforms, clashes with the pretender who would grab the fair Nadia for nis own and so on as you have seen it divulged on the shadow stage many, many times with the passing years. " Refuge," however, is a fairly good picture of its type. The main fault is tnat it is too long for the plot material and everyone will guess the ending ot the story when the countess opens a brooch along about the third reel whereupon is disclosed the mother ot the missing prince. The hero who has come to the rescue, dashes upon the brooch, declaring that it is very valuable to him. We sensed the fact that he was the " missing " prince right then and there and ior most tolks the story ought to be brought to a close at least two, not three reels further. Katherine MacDonald is as usual attractive, but still insists on continually posing and there are the usual overabundance ot cioseups found in her series of pictures. The sets are well done, several of them being quite elaborate. The cast is a good one. Hugn Thompson is Gene, who later turns out to be the prince and his two companions, portrayed Dy Gunnis Davis and J. Gordon Kussell, give the needed comedy touches. The work of Gene, Dick and Louis, who are three discharged warriors, recalls " Three Live Ghosts," of yesteryear. Arthur Edmund Carewe as the impostor prince is quite the best actor in the cast and puts up some good fistic battles with the real royal personage. There are several dramatic sequences but constant repetition has taken the edge off such scenes. Victor Schertzinger has directed well and Florence Hein's continuity is fair. Photographically the work is flawless. "Refuge" has a more entertaining story than several of Miss MacDonald's recent works and it is a fair program picture. The Casi Nadia Katherine MacDonald Gen* Hugh Thompson Lick Gunnis Davis Louls J. Gordon Russell Prince Ferdinand Arthur EdmundCarewe General DeRannier Eric Mayne Mme. DeRannier Mathilde Brundage Gustav Kenski Fred Malatesta Ma"e Grace Morse Alphonse Victor Potel The Princess Outa Otis By Lois Zellner. Directed by Victor Schertzinger. Scenario by Florence Hein. Photographed by Joseph .Brotherton. The Story — Deals with the romance of Countess, who in order to escape marriage with Prince Ferdinand, who she detests, weds a soldier who she meets on the road. Her trials and tribulations following this event take up the rest of the action with the climax divulging that her "husband" is the real prince who she has long sought. Prince Ferdinand is killed by a buddy of the hero. Classification — One of those "Graustark" type of romances. Production Highlights — The scene in which Nadia threatens to jump from a window of the palace if Ferdinand comes a step closer, but gives in when Ferdinand is about to shoot her lover. The attractive exterior sets. Edmund Carewe's work as Ferdinand. Exploitation Angles — The title. Tie-ups with banks on the "save now for a refuge in the future" idea. With real estate firms on "Buy a home now. It will be your Refuge." Fashion displays in style shops using photos of Miss MacDonald from the picture. Use beaver board around the marquee to resemble the ramparts of a palace. Drawing Power — If your audiences like Katherine MacDonald, put it on. It is O. K. for second class downtown houses. Also suitable for small towns.