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2514 MOTION PICTURE NEWS Vol. 14. No. 16
High Pressure at Metro Until Christmas
All Studios Work at Top Speed to Complete Subjects for Program Mapped Out by the Company — Many New and Elaborate Productions Are Under Way for the Coming Season — Addition of S. Rankin Drew Makes Fifth of the Barrymore-Drew Family Under the Banner of the Corporation
ANNOUNCEMENT of many new and elaborate productions for the coming season already under way or in preparation was made at the offices of the Metro Pictures Corporation, in the Longacre Building, 1476 Broadway, early this week, and from now until Christmas all the Metro studios will be working under high pressure, if the program mapped out is to be completed in the time designated.
A new addition to the Metro artistic and directing staff will be S. Rankin Drew of the Vitagraph forces, who comes to Metro October 21. He will at once begin work on an important feature photoplay at the Rolfe studios with Emmy Wehlen in the starring role. This feature is entitled " The Belle of the Season," and is based on Ella Wheeler Wilcox's famous poem of the same name. It has been adapted for the screen by June Mathis with Miss Wehlen's distinctive personality and superb dramatic gifts especially in mind, and the picture promises to be one of the season's sensations.
" The Belle of the Season " will be the first of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's works to be picturized for Metro, the motion picture rights to all the writings of this famous and gifted poetess being owned by that corporation. It will be followed by others, as rapidly as suitable screen adaptations can be made of the originals.
Originally it was intended to star Miss Wehlen in " The Belle of the Season " before she began production on " Vanity," on which she is now engaged under the direction of John B. O'Brien at the Pol)ular Plays and Players studio, but Mr. Drew, who is directing Anita Stewart in " The Girl Philippa " for the Vitagraph was unwilling to make any arrangements which might compel him to finish this elaborate feature within too limited a time. Under the present arrangement, however, he will have ample time to complete the picture and prepare to take up his new duties with Metro without being unduly pressed.
Fifth of Barrymore-Drew Family
The addition of Mr. Drew to Metro's artistic staff makes the fifth of the famous BarrjTnore-Drew family to enlist imder the Metro banner, the others being Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew, Lionel Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore, all of whom have long been notable in the list of Metro stars.
Another important offering from Metro in the near future will be " The Awakening of Helena Ritchie," with Ethel Barrj'more in the stellar part, which was placed in production early in the week at the Metro-Rolfe studio. This picturization of Margaret Deland's most famous novel is the first motion picture work Miss Barrymore has done since her last Metro production, " The Kiss of Hate," produced just prior to her road tour in " Our Mrs. McChesney."
" The Awakening of Helena Ritchie " is one of the best known novels ever published in this country.
John W. Nobel is the director of the new production, having just completed " The Brand of Cowardice " for the star's brother, Lionel Barrymore. He will have the assistance of Fred Sittenham and Charles Maigne.
Robert Cummings will play Lloyd Pryor, who poses as Helena's brother to save the feelings of the righteous neighborhood of Old Chester. Robert Whittier is Helena's husband, the Frederick of the prologue ; Charles Snow has the congenial part of old Dr. Lavendar.
Mme. Petrova at the Popular Plays and Players studio has begun a new five-part Metro wonderplay with the attractive title, " The Black Butterfly." This production promises to be one of Metro's sensations, from many points of view. The story is from the pen of Mrs. L. Case Russell. The scene of " The Black Butterfly " is laid " somewhere in France," and the action, continuing through several years, culminates in the time of the present war.
Mme. Petrova has the part of a star of the Folies Bergere, a position which the gifted actress herself formerly held. Experiments of scientific laboratory, peasant life in France, and the gaiety of Paris are contrasted in this photoplay. Burton L. King is again Mme. Petrova director, and Mahon Hamilton and Edward Martindel are prominent in her support. Gordon Supports Emmy Wehlen
At the same studio, as already mentioned, Emmy Wehlen, under the direction of John B. O'Brien, is making the feature photodrama, " Vanity," which Aaron Hoffman has written especially for the star. It shows Miss Wehlen's versatility, being totally unlike " The Pretenders," the latest screen production in which she appeared, or in fact, any other of her productions. Paul Gordon, who played opposite Miss Wehlen in " The Pretenders," has been engaged to support her in " Vanity " as well. He is best remembered for his work as the aviator in the stage production, " Moloch " This is the first Popular Plays and Players' production with this star, director, and leading support. The play illustrates the lengths to which a vain woman will go to obtain the means with which to feed her vanity, but more than that, it shows the adroitness, the careful plotting and planning of a man who is determined to throw a net around a woman from which she cannot extricate herself without his dearly-bought aid. Tom O'Keefe plays the chief of detectives, and W. W. Black is his lieutenant.
W. Christy Cabanne, at the Quality studio, is perfecting plans for the fourteen episode serial, as yet unnamed, which will serve as the medium for the genius of Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne. W^ork on this immense production was begim this week. Mr. Cabanne, has just completed his first offering for the Metro program, starring Frances Nelson, producing a five-part feature picture in eight
days. This new production, formerly called " Love, Honor and Obey," will be released under the title of " One of Many." Niles Welch is featured with Miss Nelson, the star.
George D. Baker will return from a short vacation and sea trip next week to produce " Squire Flynn," with Lionel Barrymore as the star. " Squire Flynn " is a picturization of Holman F. Day's popular novel. Mr. Barrymore's supporting cast has not been chosen as yet, and this detail will not be completed until Mr. Baker's return. Charles Hunt will again assist him in this picture.
Emily Stevens has already begun her regular dramatic season in " The Unchastened Woman," having finished the Metro-Rolfe production, to be released late in November, called " The Wager." " The Wager " is of Mr. Baker's writing and directing.
" Dave " Thompson has been promoted from the position of assistant director to that of director. His first production will be made with Julius Steger as star in a Metro feature play as yet unnamed. This will be Mr. Steger's first Metro production since " The Blindness of Love." Mabel Taliaferro at Work in " Sonbeam "
Alabel Taliaferro, last seen on the Metro program in the Rolfe picture " The Dawn of Love," is deep in her new production, written by Shannon Fife and June Mathis, called " The Sunbeam." Edwin Carewe. as usual, is Miss Taliaferro's director, and this Metro is fast approaching completion. The veteran actor, Gerald Griffin, plays the part of Rutherford, a candy manufacturer in whose life everything is sweet, but his own disposition. Ravmond McKee, playing opposite the star, has the role of Danny O'Madigan, a product of the reformatories. Gladys Alexandria, a dramatic leading woman, makes her bow to the screen in the part of Ellen, Rutherford's daughterin-law. That clever character actress, Hattie Delaro, has the part of Rutherford's housekeeper.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew, the creators of the comedy of the home, continue to make a one-act picture each week at the Rolfe studio. Dainty Viola Dana is completing " The Gates of Eden," the five-act feature by Rev. William E. Danforth depicting life in a Shaker community. Edward Earle, Robert Walker and Augustus Phillips have parts of practically equal importance in her support. John H. Collins is director.
NEW $300,000 THEATRE FOR CHICAGO
Sam Katz, who owns several Chicago photoplay houses, has just signed a contract for a Stj-le A Bartola, to be installed in the Wallace theatre, 620 West Thirtyfirst street, Chicago. Mr. Katz and Barney Balaban are the joint promoters of a $300,000 moving picture theatre, to be erected on West Twelfth street, Chicago.