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October 21, 1916
MOTION PICTURE NEWS
(Frank Powell Productions — Six Reels) REVIEWED BY PETER MILNE
SINCE the initial showing of "Charity?" Frank Powell has reduced its length from eight to six reels. The elimination of two reels naturally speeds the action up a bit, but even now " Charity?" is far removed from perfection. Chiefly at fault is the construction of the scenario and the direction. The scenes lack the proper tempo — the observer fails to " feel " the picture. We are still wondering over the fact that Mr. Powell produced it, because he has done such good work in the past. It seems to be just a case of " mistakes will happen," and it is regrettable that " Charity?" is Mr. Powell's first picture for his own company.
While the picture can hardly be designated as entertainment, it will by its contents awake a good deal of interest in organized charity. Founded to a certain extent on recent investigations into charitable institutions, principally orphan asylums, the picture shows the disgraceful conditions that existed in such places. Mr. Powell is wise in not attacking all organized charity for the shortcomings of certain branches of it. In his asylum scenes he shows us half a dozen children using the same toothbrush, he dwells on the fact that they are dirty and underfed, and that the little food they do get is worse than pigs' fare.
The story, written by Linda A. Griffith, shows how a sister and brother successfully overcame the evils of their hereditary environment. The girl, Mary, tells the story of her life on the witness stand, starting with events before her birth, about which she could hardly be expected to have such detailed knowledge. She describes the death of her father and then tells how she and her brother were confined in an orphan asylum.
Then comes her brother's escape from the institution, and in a flash back to the court room scene she says that she has never seen him since that day, but still she goes on telling all about his experiences since he left, in great detail. This is poor scenario contruction. No doubt Mr. Powell meant to imply that the adventures of the brother be told as a parallel story, but he has not made this clear. Well, the brother who has never had any education blossoms forth as a lawyer, and toward the end of his sister's case he enters the court room and exposes the owner of the asylum as a fraud and a white slaver. That the owner is a white slaver is not made clear in this second edition of "Charity?" as it was in the first.
Space does not permit going into the details of the direction. It is poor and that's all there is to it. The camera work by David Calcagni is inferior. Never is the photography very clear, while the court room scenes are so badly handled from this end that they are full of halation. And on top of it all, even with the editing that the picture has received it is still too long.
Linda A. Griffith as the girl, Creighton Hale as the boy, and Sheldon Lewis as the drunken father are featured. Others are John Dunn, Elizabeth Burbridge, Veta Searl, and Sam J. Ryan.
" THE HIDDEN SCAR "
(Peerless-World — Five Reels) REVIEWED BY THEODORE OSBORN ELTONHEAD
<*' I 'HE Hidden Scar" is a picture that would please on almost ■I any program. It contains a good, tense, dramatic story, well produced, ably directed, and excellently acted. Its theme is strong and wholesome, a keen arraignment of hypocrisy as it is found prevalent in many of the so-called Christian churches throughout the country.
The story was written by Mrs. Owen Bronson, and though she cannot be credited with any great amount of originality in either her conception or the manner in which she has treated it, still she has evolved a good strong story and one that carries a mighty forceful lesson.
Janet Hall is a pretty, attractive young girl who is tempted and wronged by Henry Dalton, and gives birth to an illegitimate child. Greatly displeased with her mode of life and with her whole being wrapped up in her child, she begs Dalton to marry her, which he refuses to do. He is suddenly killed and on his death-bed leaves her a cottage in the country and a small income. There she meets and falls in love with Dale Overton, the young minister of the church. For a time she refuses to marry him on account of her early sin, but after listening to his sermons in which he preaches charity, forgiveness and tolerance, she consents. Later her past is disclosed and her husband renounces her. Stuart Doane, Overton's great friend, comes to the defence of Janet, denouncing Overton as an arch hypocrite, saying that irrespective of what she
has been she is pure and noble now. Overton finally sees things in their true light and takes Janet in his arms.
Ethel Clayton had the role of Janet and handled it most effectively. Holbrook Blinn was in the somewhat minor part of Stuart Doane, and Irving Cummings was excellent as the young minister. The picture was staged under the capable direction of Barry O'Neil, who evolved a meritorious piece of work in every particular. Others in the cast were Montagu Love, Madge Evans, Edward M. Kimball and Mrs. Woodward.
"THE SOCIAL BUCCANEER"
(Bluebird— Five Reels) REVIEWED BY PETER MILNE
THE gentle art of burglarly and charity practised a la Robin Hood will ever hold an audience in an everage state of suspense and fascination. " The Social Buccaneer " which features J. Warren Kerrigan in such a role is of this type of motion picture. Taken from the novel by Frederick S. Isham it manages to entertain averagely and sometimes unusually over the greater portion of its length. The only weak thing about it is its ending. The picture does not boast of such an essential. It just stops. The social buccaneer decides to reform at the instigation of his fiancee and so he does. The ending lacks what we are accustomed to term as punch.
But lack of a proper finale can not condemn " The Social Buccaneer " as a whole. There is enough sustaining power in its body to put it over and put it over strong. It has been produced capably by Jack Conway from a scenario by Fred Myton and each scene in it is most realistic. As the first part of the story is supposed to transpire in China, this is saying a good deal. The settings in that part of the picture are really quite
Marjorie Pleads with the Burglar
unusual in atmosphere and realism. Again has the director shown his good taste in those numerous scenes which transpire at the house party of Goldberg. A night garden party has been very well handled. Added to this the photography by Ed Kull is excellent.
Bruce, a foreign buyer sees on on of his trips abroad a Chinese pirate, who robs from the rich to give to the poor. This impresses him and later when he overhears an attack on the life of the pirate he saves him. In America Bruce resolves to follow the same line of action. The real drama starts at the garden party of his employer, where he (Bruce) sets out to procure a valuable string of pearls possessed by the daughter of the house. He is almost apprehended in this act by Caglioni, a half breed Chinee, whose enmity he incurred in China when he defended the life of the pirate. He is successful, however, after a world of rapid fire incidents but after all he reforms for the sake of the girl.
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