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October 21, 1916
MOTION PICTURE NEWS
" A SISTER OF SEX "
(Triangle-Fine Arts — Five Reels) REVIEWED BY PETER MILNE
SEVEN of the bright spots of "A Sister of Six" are Bessie Love and six of the Fine Arts kiddies, the best little performers on the screen. Miss Love appears as a daughter of a New Englander settled in California in the year 1860, at which time the atmosphere of Mexico was dominant in the state. Her father is killed by plotters, who seek his land for the gold it contains. Accompanied by her six charges she goes to her uncle in the East and after his stony heart has been softened by association with his relatives, he takes them back West again to secure legal possession of their rightful lands.
At this point in the story the writer has brought into play old yet certain methods of effecting a thrilling climax. There are the Mexicans, who surround the ranch house, its meagre band of defenders, the prolonged fight, the sensational ride for assistance and at last the appearance of soldiers to save the day. Scenes like this keep the observer right on the edge of his proverbial seat. As pictured here by the Franklins who directed, they are played up to the fullest possible advantage. They get over with a crash. Some of the more intimate bits, which are interpolated between the panorama should, however, be toned down a bit. When a man is shot in the stomach blood may dribble from his mouth, but few of us like to see it dribble in a closeup. The cutter has a little more work to do there.
In general the direction of the Franklins is exceptional and exceptional pictures are getting to be quite usual with them. The scenes secured are delightful, the costuming good and the photography generally excellent. The handling of the children is done with a wonderfully realistic effect. They are all shown in closeups during the fighting scenes and their expressions would do justice to the artist with years of experience behind him.
A. D. Sears does some fine work as the heavy, Ralph Lewis as the uncle gets his role over in good fashion and Frank Bennett has the part opposite Miss Love. A competent cast, never forgetting the kiddies, is there for support. Bernard McConville is the author.
" PRUDENCE, THE PIRATE "
(Pathe-Thanhouser — Five Reels) REVIEWED BY PETER MILNE
THERE was a leader following the title on this picture dedicating its contents to those tired of the materialistic, who wanted to hark back a number of years and enjoy over again their childhood dreams — such as playing pirate. Oh, happy thoughts ! and what an ideal one for a picture. Never in a reasonably loijg period of reviewing have we laid eyes on such an enchanting subject as " Prudence, the Pirate." Looking at it, the walls of the theatre melt into nothing, the screen becomes a mirror reflecting the humorous prank of an unconventional and winsome girl, who is so fresh, so distantly removed from anything pertaining to grease paint and wig, that you smile patronizingly at her every action. Making a person feel patronizing is, by the way, a sure way of pleasing him. And you laugh at little Prue's pranks, smile at the delightful pictures of human nature that the story offers, and thrill at the climax.
We are more than pleased to find Mr. Thanhouser among the producers who believe that a picture can get over minus sex, murder and companion elements. People go to a theatre to be entertained. Maybe a little sex stuff now and then and a little murder is necessary at times to open the way to a drama. But how much nicer it is to see a picture that fulfills its mission to entertain without resorting to gruesome methods. One gets a new lease on life after witnessing " Prudence, the Pirate."
The story was prepared by Agnes Johnston and produced by William Parke. We have endeavored to give an idea of the quality of their work already. Dwelling more on specific points of the production, let it be further said that the subtitles are some of the best ever seen on the screen. They are well written and practically every one of them brings a ripple of laughter. The continuity is smooth and the scenes well staged.
The story tells of a young girl longing for adventure who can't " see " the life led by her socially ambitious aunt. Aunty wants her to marry a dude, but he has never done anything to be proud of, so that taboos him. Prue, her head full of pirates from the stories told her by the old butler, hires an old ship and a gang of wicked looking fellows for crew and sails the seas all rigged up in true pirate style. She captures Aunty and the dude and
imprisons them on the ship. Hard work works wonders with the dude and of course when a fire aboard ship comes he proves himself a true gallant by saving the life of Prue.
Justice can not be done in relating the synopsis of the story. The touches of the author and the various scenes done by the principal characters must be seen to be appreciated. There are Riley Chamberlin as the old butler and Flora Finch as Aunty, who do some excellent comedy. There are Barnett Parker as the dude and William Parks, Jr., as a youngster who believes himself in love with Prue, who do sterling work.
But most of all, there is Gladys Hulette as Prue. We know of one idolized star who had better look to her laurels if Miss Hulette keeps on in the direction she travels in this picture. She is pretty and she is an actress, and in " Prudence, the Pirate " she lives the part to perfection.
"THE ESSANAY-CHAPLIN REVUE OF 1916"
(Essanay — Five Reels) REVIEWED BY WILLIAM C. ESTY
THIS multiple-reel release was arranged by Essanay from the previously released Chaplin comedies " The Tramp," " His New Job," and " A Night Out." The editing was carefully done, so that the five reels have as much continuity and consistency as is necessary in a slap-stick picture.
At a trade showing in Chicago, over one hundred exhibitors viewed the picture and were obviously entertained. Those who know the usual death-watch atmosphere of these showings will appreciate what this means.
The three pictures from which the " Revue " is assembled, while perhaps not the comedian's best, are excellent. There is not a single one of Chaplin's characteristic eccentricities that is not brought in at least once during the film's progress. This fact, in addition to the innumerable bits of original " business " introduced, ought to make this release sure-fire with audiences that like Chaplin.
Each exhibitor will have to decide for himself the question of whether or not his audience will care for five reels of Chaplin in one dose.
Chaplin, as a tramp, is wondering along a country road, when a girl is attacked by a gang of hoboes. He rescues her by using his feet, teeth, and knock-out mallet, and is given a job on her father's farm. He gets much amusement out of milking a cow and other bucolic pursuits. One night he routs a gang of burglars, and being wounded in the fray, is nursed by the girl. The girl's sweetheart visits her, and Chaplin, heartbroken, returns to the city. He gets a job in a moving picture studio, but by his blundering spoils all the pictures and drives the director insane.
Saturday night he decides to spend his week's salary, and spends most of it on strong liquor. He gets into the wrong room in a hotel and is beaten up by a jealous husband.
" HER FATHER'S SON "
(Morosco-Paramount — Five Reels) REVIEWED BY PETER MILNE ■"PHE Morosco Company offers Vivian Martin here in a Civil 1 War story that is not all blood and thunder. In fact, there is little blood and thunder in its make-up. " Her Father's Son," as might be hazarded from the title, is a comedy-drama with the accent all on the comedy. Miss Martin masquerading in boy's clothes is delightfully attractive, although we must confess that the characters in the picture who were fooled by her disguise should never be allowed to roam about New York. Some one might sell them Times Square or the subway.
Miss Martin is Frances, the daughter of a poor man. Previous to her father's death, her wealthy uncle who is mixed on his i's and e's writes to his brother, saying that he will adopt the " boy." So the " boy " comes after her father's death all dressed up like a Southern gentleman and then the fun starts. Indeed, there is a wealth of comedy introduced which is spattered lightly with romance. At the outbreak of the war little Frances works on one side and another with equal favor. Her romance with a Northern soldier ends happily after a fine dash of comedy.
We strongly recommend this to the exhibitor who wants a good five-reel comedy-drama. There is little that is gruesome or dark about it, and there is much that is extremely humorous. Miss Martin has excellent support in the way of Alfred Vosburgh, Herbert Standing, Helen Eddy, Joe Massey, Jack Lawton, Lucille Ward and Tom Bates. William Taylor directed, and the camera work is that of Homer Scott.