Motion Picture News (Mar-Apr 1923)

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April 21, 1923 1955 44 The Girl Who Came Back " Lichtman-Pref erred — 6100 Feet (Reviewed by Laurence Reid) ALLOWING for several gaps which need bridging for the sake of coherence "The Girl Who Came Back " shapes up as a satisfying: crook melodrama in that it will please the everyday patron who is not too analytical. One thine it has in its favor is a suspensive value which holds the onlooker in a fair pitch of excitement. A^ain Tom Forman, the director, has succeeded in giving it a coating of realism in the prison sequences, even if he is forced now and then to give way to convenient touches. The critical spectator, however, will be disappointed to see the escape of the convicts glossed over through a subtitle. A "lifer" tells the two cell mates how to break jail and the next shot shows them safe in a dMaoidated retreat. It looks to us as if the picture has not been carefully edited in its most important senuences. Too much is taken for granted. The offering: does get off to a pood start showing a girl victimized into a fake marriage with an auto thief. They are arrested, the " wife " being taken along as a oartv to the crime. And there a^e some «rood shots of nrison life. The <?irl serves her term and doesn't meet her "husband" again until after he has escaped. Then he is recaptured and the young woman, desperate, takes the ke" to the retreat to recover the strmg box and its contents which were hidden bv her " hubby's " cell mate before he was sent to prison. A title is emoloved again to get the strangers to South Africa, although previous to the scene there is a shot of the girl "beanins:" the other crook in the ramshackle house. This man. incidentally, had helped the lifer and out of gratitude the latter had left him his Kimberley diamond mines. So the next few episodes show the strangers falling in love and climbing to the heights. Each has a deep secret which is not told until the concluson. Then a title takes them back to America and a Long Island home where her "hubby" bobs up again and confesses to his crimes before he is killed by a fellow crook who had accompanied him to blackmail the crooks who turned to the right. It's rather complicated and far-fetched, but proves to be interesting even if it doesn't convince. Miriam Cooper contrbutes a performance marked for its emotional quality. She extracts a deal of svmoathy for the character who was victimized into the wavs of crime. Kenneth Harlan and Gaston Glass as the crooks are satisfactory. The atmosphere is verv good, but the costume party seems superfluous and doesn't ring genuine. The Cast Sheila Miriam Cooper Ray Underhill Gaston Glass Norries Kenneth Harlan Convict 565 Joseoh Dowling Valhays Fred Malatesta Belle Bryant .' Ethel Shannon Anastasia ...ZaSu Pitts By Charles E Blaney and Samuel Ruskin Golding. Directed by Tom Forman. The Story — Crook inveigles girl into fake marriage and both are arrested as auto thieves. She serves her term but the youth escapes along with his cell-mate and finding his "wife" begs ber to help him steal the contents of a strong box hidden by his pal. He is recaptured, but (he girl, after stealing the* jewels and money, flees to South America where she meets the cell-mate. They fall in love and marry, the girl believing her "husband" dead. They return to America and find peace and happiness after the other crooks are killed. Classification — Crook melodrama. Production Highlights — The prison atmosphere. The good acting by Miriam Cooper. The society scene. Exploitation Angles — Feature as interesting story of prison life. Get welfare workers interested. Start a teaser campaign on theme. Use stills. Exploit title. Draining Power — A good audience picture for all second-class first run houses An amusing moment from "Green as Grass" xvith Jimmie Adams, a Christie comedy released by Educational 44 Patsy " Truart — Five Reels (Reviewed by Laurence Reid) GIVE ZaSu Pit's half a chance to show what she can do with a character sketch, no matter how frail its story, and she will prove to the satisfaction of all that she is endowed with a fair amount of talent. Miss Pitts possesses an individuality all her own. Consequently she must have suitable material. It has often happened that the roles she interpreted were subordinated to provide opportunities for more colorful characters. In " Patsy," a picture of a hoydenish orphan, the star is in her element. True, one can anticipate its development, but if one remembers that it is a character sketch — that the story supplies just so much background for the activities of the orphan, one won't be disappointed. We see her running away from the orphanage, this "Amarilly " type, and she takes to the highway attired as a bov. Her destination is California. The girl is getting by nicely, bumming her way and everything, but a fair passenger is kind enough to pav her fare. When she arrives in Los Angeles good fortune smiles upon her. A good Samaritan helps her because of her kindness toward him and soon she is sharing his humble home. The picture is sketchy and episodic and merelv a vehicle for the star. But there is enough incident to make it palatable for feminine audiences everywhere. There is a quality about it which should appeal to the younger generation. The heroine is endowed with plenty of imagination and resourcefulness. She becomes a leader of a gang of toughs and the adventures in this role are fairly amusine to anyone who has not become hard-boiled. " Patsy " is hokum to be sure. It is farfetched in most of its scenes and often gets buried by a deal of melodramatic tricks. But the characterization will compensate for its plot shortcomings and the padded episodes. The cast includes Wallace Beery. Tom Gallery. Fannie Midgely. Marjorie Daw, Harry Todd and John MacFarlane. Surely nothing wrong with the interpretation. The Cast Patsy ; ZaSu Pitt* Pons John MacFarlane Bob Brooks Tom Gallery Margaret Vincent Marjorie Daw Mrs. Vincent Fannie Mideelv Gustave Luderman Wallace Beery Tramp Harry Todd Bonei Henry Fortson Directed by John W. McDermott The Story — Orphan girl runs away, takes to the road, attires herself as boy and boards a train for California. She is befriended by girl on train and eventually helps old man — who in return for her kindness takes her to live with him. The orphan becomes leader of gang of boys and is instrumental in restoring a girl to her father. Classification — Character study ■ Production Highlights — The fine characterization by ZaSu Pitts Exploitation Angles — Play up that ZaSu Pitts is one of the best character actresses of the screen Drazving Power — A program picture suitable for neighborhood houses. " The Abysmal Brute " Universal-Jewel— 7373 Feet (Reviewed by Laurence Reid) A GENUINELY human document of the prize-ring which carries a most realistic atmosphere and picturesque incident and which gets under the skin because of its lifelike plot and characterization is "The Abysmal Brute," founded upon Jack London's story of the same name. There is something about tales of the roped arena which fascinate the spectator. For one thing they are usually rich in local color and present real adventure and a spark of romance which account for their popularity. Hobart Henlev has never given the screen a more entertaining subject than this, his latest effort. He has caught the true psychology of the character who is reared among the California hills to become a prizefighter like his father before him and who, coming down to Frisco, finds adventure, romance and success awaiting him. There are no gaps here — no convenient touches added to give it a " kick." This quality it has in abundance without any recourse being made toward the lengthy arm of coincidence. It may be a trifle long and there are some sequences which if shortened would quicken the action and heighten its appeal. " The Abysmal Brute " is mostly a character study of a shy mountain youth whose modesty makes him his own worst enemy. He is afraid of the opposite sex but still he obeys his father's advice — "If you love a girl, don't give uo 'til you have won her!" So he is thrust into a strange world — the world of society, this uncouth pugilist. He is ashamed of his profession and the girl doesn't learn of his association with the manly art until he has conquered her heart. Yet his sincerity has brought such a deep appreciation that s^e doesn't waver except for a brief instant. Then his courage and determination to conquer her, for he applies caveman tactics. This is the story in a nutshell — a story punctuated with considerable by-play as it concerns the prize-ring."* Henlev's atmosphere and incident are exceptionally good. And his scene when the youth calls on the girl, unannounced, is a gem. The guests are in evening dress and their table manners are perfect, yet they do not become Ritzy before the boy. Who could be a better choice for the title role than Reginald Denny, the actor that made the "Leather Pusher" tales so entertaining? He gives his best performance here, acting in character throughout every scene. Some of the Latin favorites had better watch this fellow Denny. He is stealing some of their thunder. A capital picture, capitally staged, directed and acted. A fine box-office attraction. Get it quick. The Cast Pat Glendon, Jr : . Reginald Denny Marion Sangster Mabel Julienne Scott Pat Glendon, Sr Charles French Sam Stubener Havden Stevenson Mortimer Sangster David Torrence Wilfred Sangster George Stewart Buddy Sangster Buddy Messenger Deane Warner Crauford Kent Gwendolyn . .Irene Haisman Mrs. MacTavish Dorothea Wolbert Violet MacTavish Julia Brown Daisy Emerson Nell Craig By Jack London. Scenario by A. P. Younger. Directed by Hobart Henley. The Story — Young California mountaineer is brought up by his father, an ex-pugilist, to become a prize-fighter. He is shy of women, but falls in love with girl at the beach. He enters the ring and is so successful that he is called " The Abysmal Brute." The girl he falls in love with belongs to smart society and eventually she learns that he is a prize-fighter. Classification — Character study and romance. Production Highlights — The fine work by Denny. The local color of the roped arena. Exploitation Angles — The fast growing popularity of star. The rich local color of the roped arena. The name of the director. The author. Drawing Power — Should go big in every locality. Big enough for first run houses.