Variety (October 1915)

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22 FILM REVIEWS TRIANGLE-KNICKERBOCKER. "A picture program Is a picture show" seems to bo the meaning of the entertainment offered by the Triangle Corporation at the Knickerbocker theatre, where the scale of ad- mission runs to %2. The Triangle's show is all film, 13 reels In total, running continuously (excepting an intermission) for nearly three hours. There Is music, before, during and be- tween the features. Sunday there were four features on the Triangle bill, greatly varied in subject matter, although two were comedy pictures. The first dramatic (five parts) was a thriller, "The Martyrs of the Alamo.'' It followed a two-reel comedy. After the dra- matic arrived intermission, then the other comedy, the bill closing with "Matrimony" (four reels). Taking the much discussed $2 admission the Triangle taxes at the Knickerbocker into the figuring, also remembering there are one- dollar orchestra seats at night, with 60-cent orchestra seats at matinee, it could be con- cluded that the Triangle's policy of high prices for an exclusive picture program must eventually win out, If all of the Triangle's programs are equal to that one this week at the Knickerbocker. It Is doubtful, and It is not even that, If there Is another feature picture service on either side of the ocean which can put to- gether an entire exclusive picture program weekly, to commence to range alongside of those 13 reels now at the Knickerbocker. To the rabid picture fan, who wants to see pictures—and pictures only—the Triangle pro- gram satisfies. In large cities, like New York, Chicago or Philadelphia, It also satis- fies another element—those who are perfectly willing to pay one dollar or more to watch a "picture show" In the belief the higher price of admission guarantees (in the or- chestra anyway) a certain excluslveness of clientele In that section. The Triangle also runs Its bill In a very business like way. It's pictures—nothing else, one after the other. And this Is not at all displeasing. One who goes to a certain en- tertainment for that alone seldom cares about aught else. If educated to a mixed picture show, containing song and flowers on the side, that might be expected to become the standard exhibit, but the Triangle has merely proven, at $2, the rule established by from 10 to 25-cent picture places all over the coun- try—that people who want to see pictures, want to see a picture show, only. The Triangle program Sunday afternoon would have finished better by having "The Martyrs" feature closing it, Instead of "Matri- mony," the latter the weaker of the two longer features. The comedies were both Keystones (Mack Bennett), a Ford Sterling and Roscoe Ar- huckle. The Sterling two-reeler was called "His Father's Footsteps," with Mr. Sterling In the role of father to bis son (Bob Vernon), se- curing loud laughter In legitimate comedy efforts. His work at the ball, and on the ball room floor, was really the essence of film fun. The story was of the father trying to win away hta son's "girl," the mother dis- covering her husband's duplicity, and the boy squaring his dad, first securing the father's consent to his marriage. "Fickle Fatty's Fall" was the two-reeler In which Mr. Arbuckle was starred. At times be was closely pushed for all honors in It by Alfred 8t John as the butcher's boy. It seemed all the tricks of the comic film trade had been compressed Into this two- reeler, but they were kept within confines which did not destroy the class of the com- edy, and the many situations forced laugh- ter. At several points the action was so rapid, the laughs came In a stream. Ivy Crostb- wslte in a union suit did Borne diving, and the exhibition of h*»r figure in black out- lines said that Kellermann has a rival. In part, at least About the best way always to guage how a show strikes one Is to notice whether time drsgs or whirls. It's almost a certain In- dex. Though the Triangle program ran nearly three hours, It hardly seemed longer than an ordinary flve-reeler would require. If tbe Triangle can turn out the programs! If! ! And to back up those "Ifs," it has Griffith, Ince and Sennett! If they can't, no one can, and there's an "If" that says something. Sime. MATRIMONY. The opening slides of "Matrimony," a Kay- Bee (Triangle) feature on the Triangle pro- gram at the Knickerbocker this week, carry an argument In captions, asking If a wife could not play the marital deceit game 60-90 with her husband, provided, nsturally, the buBband Is not on the level with the hearth- stone. Those argumentative captions Interest the women Immediately. Probably the hus- bands, as well, so "Matrimony" should have them coming and going. C. Gardner Stoddard and Thomas H. Ince put on this four-reeler, which stars Julia Dean. It is but shortly after the film starts that the men In the audience will commence to ease up any ten- sion they may have felt. The strongest point is In the captioned query, "Why shouldn't what Is sauce for the goose be sauce for the gander?" or something like that. Mls-castlng the pictured play in the feminine roles Is why the feature Is robbed of its masculine holding power. It still retains, however, the necessary attraction for the women In the de- tailing of how Mrs. Kossmore (Miss Dean) drew her husband (Howard Hickman) back to her. after he had commenced to "chase" women. The picture raises another point for the kind applause of woman. It Is, "Why should a wife try to hold her husband?" Why? That Is a question, though the scen- ario maker seemingly overlooked In this that pride and children could be valid reasons. However, "Matrimony" reopens a thoroughly threshed out subject for those Interested, and it can do no harm. The wife won back her husband by adopting his methods, Indifference and going out with men. 8o the feature be- comes a repetition with reversed conditions. Messrs. Sullivan and Ince likely caught the main faults of this feature—after It was msde. While it could not have been "great" under any circumstances, It would have been vastly bettered by a more careful selection of types for the principal roles. As a "Trian- gle feature," "Matrimony" will do. There are countless women to whom It will become all- abaorblng. The story takes a desperate chance In having the wife go as far as she did In her Indifference. Many a huaband would wel- come that, but It Is the usual trend of these 50-00, husband-wife, man-woman, equal- rlghts-ln-all-things affairs, whether presented on tbe stage, screen or book pages. Sime. NEAL OF THE NAVY. «*Tke Saw Worshippers.'* The current week's episode of the Psthe (Balboa) serial Is by far the best of the en- tire series for it contains sufficient of the re- quired action and Interest to hold up Itself even though the director Juggles the Im- probable rather promiscuously In order to emphasize his points. The preceding chapter pictured Neal (Wm. Courtlelgh, Jr.) and An- nette (Lillian Lorraine) Imprisoned by the revolutionists and In this "ep" their delivery is shown accompanied by a semi-sensational escape and a rather startling experience with a tribe of sun worshippers who demand, as a price of freedom for the entire party, a human sacrifice. Annette is selected by the high priest, but with the aid of a handy weapon fights her wsy to the exterior and evades recapture. Meanwhile Neal has made good his escape and by climbing a nearby tree signals the "Maryland" which Is scouring the coastline for a sign of the prisoners. He Is interrupted in his task by the smugglers who direct the "brute man" to uproot the tree and kill the hero. He is thrown over a cliff, but manages to sustain a hold on the side wall and Is eventually rescued and returns aboard ship. During this excitement the map of Lost Isle, which had previously been stolen by the chief smugglers, drops from his pocket conveniently at the feet of the couple. This seemed rather Irregular, but Irregularities have been established as a habit with this serial and Is passed unnoticed. At any rate, notwithstanding the delayed speed, the present week's portion will pass nicely as a single episode, but Just how It helps the production as a whole is a question. Wynn. VANITY FAIR. A fine Edison feature released under the Klelne-Edlson service, directed by Eugene Nowland. Good photography with brown tinting. Profiting by the mistake.of several years ago when Mrs. Flske was plcturlsed in "Tess of the D'Urbervllles" and ahowed the "ravages of time," there are no close-ups employed In the present offering. She still suffers from the same mannerism of seldom holding her head up so that her eyes are seen. Hers is a peculiar personality. Tou never quite "get" everything she does, but when It Is all over you find she haa sug- Sested absolutely the character she portrays. ne excellent thing that Impresses you is that "Vanity Fair" is a long way off—a sort of peering into the past, and you really don't want to see It as if It had all happened yes- terday. On the other hand the general run of picture fans demand more dramatic action and close-ups. It Is, therefore, an artistic success, but probably a bit too fine tor popu- lar appeal. Mrs. Flake's Impersonation of Becky 8harpe has all the elements of youth- ful sttractlveness and Blgelow Cooper as Rawdon makes a fine Rawdon Crawley. The pedlod costuming Is beautiful and accurate, but the exteriors In Russell Square, London, look as If they were taken in Washington Square, New York. The story Itself Is a trifle sketchy and disjointed, and it Is doubt- ful If It could be accurately followed by one unfamiliar with the Immortal novel. The seven-part feature opens with Thackeray sested at his desk writing, and closes In the same manner, quoting his never-to-be-forgot- ten words: "Who of us In this world gets his desire, and who of us, having got his desire, Is satisfied. Come children, let us put the puppets back Into the box; the play is over." A bit delicate by comparison with a sensa- tional railroad wreck, what? Jolo. THE MARTYRS OF THE ALAMO. Silent Smith Sam DeGrasse Santa Anna Walter Long Sam Houston Tom Wilson David Crockett A. D. Sears James Bowles Alfred Paget Old Soldier Augustus Carney Colonel Travis John Dillon Captain Dickinson Fred Burns Mrs. Dickinson Ora Carew Old Soldier's Daughter Juanita Hanson To just call this a "stirring drama" would be a slur upon one of the best features in its class and of its length (five reels) that has been turned over to the screen. It Is a Fine Arts (Triangle) and a part of the Triangle program at the Knickerbocker this week. W. Christy Cabanne directed the feature, "Super- vised by David W. Grlffth." It is a historical tale of Mexican revolution in 1836. when Texas obtained her freedom. Looking over the cast above will bring back to memory names famous In the frontier life of the United States In tbe early dayB. (James Bowie Is tbe father of the weapon named after him, "bowie knife.") Santa Anna was In control of Mexico at this time. The American set- tiers, led by Bowie, Crockett and "Silent" Smith, fought for their liberty, the hand of independents being wiped out by the Mex- icans upon their recapture of the Alamo, likely historically known aa the aiege of the Alamo. Santa Anna and his army were routed a abort time afterward by Oen. Sam Houston, lead- lug his American rangers, Houston having tuken bis time, until too late, in going to the Alamo's aid, after Smith had escaped from ibe stockade and through the ranks of the Mexicans to warn Houston of the danger of his comrades and their families left there. It's the manner In which the reproduction has been made in the feature that counts. There's a thrill from opening to close. The Mexican army and its handling, the stockade scenes, the rangers, the warfare, everything in con- nection with this frontier picture appears faithful, to the last detail, Including Bowie's slow death by consumption and his last act of killing a Mexican with the knife he Invented. Mr. Cabanne comes In for the larger share of the credit In direction, for nothing Is beyond Griffith, in nlctures, but the perfectness of the feature Is easily laid at Griffith's doors. Mr. De Grasse as "Silent" Smith actually got a laugh here and there In the midst of all the carnage through his expressed contempt for the Mexicans. Talk about your "war films," here's one that's one without any boasting over it. And to see this feature on a Triangle program will make many an adherent of that program, among exhibitors and the public, for the chances are If any other concern had turned it out, they would have used "Tue Martyrs of the Alamo" for a special feature. It could heave easily stood that. Some of its battle scenes excel those In Griffith's immortal "The Birth of a Nation." mme. DIVORCED. Lenore Manson Hilda Spong Uuipn Jaauaon * red Erie ttugcue Manson Charles Huichiaon Kouert Haa ley Lester cnamucrs rive-part Triumph (Equitable) leature, starring Hilda spong, wntuu oy Euwiu kroner, directed by Edward warren. Woman wiui young sou obtains divorce iroiu her bus- u*ud. Anutner man induces her to become uia mistreat*, promising marriage when he ob- tains divorce trom bis wile. Son oi woman &ruwa up, learns of the situation, confronts man ana his mother. Man teiia son it was uis money that gave him (the son; nis edu- cation, etc. Woman snoots man dead. Is placed on trial, pleads justification and Jury acquits her on ground ol temporary insanity, louug girl of wealth, who has been in love witu sou, decides to marry him in spite of uie scandal and the 'curtain talis' with mother, son and girl in a love lest. Miss Spuug s acting is wonderiuily eaectlve in tbe biruug emotional parts, bui in repose the photography gives ner a much more ancient appearance tnan her actual years warrant. Cnaries Hutchison was altogeiner too bulky aud ponderous and manly lor the impersona- tion of a college youtn, with the remainder oi ibe cast Intelligently selected. The sub- ject id not an especially lellclious one, un- less it be to teacn tbe moral that she who sins must suffer. But the story could have been Just aa thoroughly told in three reels by the elimination oi a number of unneces- sary scenes. The director might also have selected supers other than ltt-year-old youths to portray policemen. Jolo. THE CRIMSON WING. Essanay la making features. "The Crimson Wing" in five reels is the latest. The V-L- S-E has to market it It might Just as well be shelved now, it is hopeless. In the first place it is a war picture. Enough of that sort of drama can be gleaned from the dailies and, besides, It is about the cheapest kind of a production one would want to see. There Is a long drawn out story before the war busi- ness starts that la not the least bit interest- ing and could be told in a caption instead of three long reels. Tbe war business has been crudely done, notwithstanding the fact that a dirigible balloon is shown and some scenes with a large number of troops. These were evidently taken on the other side and pieced into It, for the rest of the picture looked vastly different. There is tbe customary love story with the new departure being that the man has two girls with whom he Is equally in love. After one poisons herself he dreams of bis happy life after marrying the other when the war has come to and end. He sit- ting contemplating this hapnlness brings It to a close. In the war scenes the director evi- dently overlooked the fact that part of the stuff showed the soldiers in a wood with heavy foliage while the remainder showed them In a similar place where the trees bad nary a leaf and suggested late fall, while tbe other must have been summer. Beverly Bayne and Kuth Stonehouse shared tbe honors of the pro- duction with tbe man playing the German soldier sufficing. It Is no Joy to sit through this one. THE COUNTRY PARSON. Just where the title of this three reel lilograph Is derived from would he hard to fay. The story on which the picturlzstlon Is founded on 1b one of the novels of Honore de Halsac. Like nearly all of the Balsac works it has an antique dealer, a couple of priests, an under cover love affair and a tragic ending for Its theme. The story tells of Veronlque, the daughter of Savlant, an old antique dealer, who, at her father's will, marries the "wealthiest man of the village, even though he 1b almost aged enough to be her grandfather. This marriage takes place even though the girl Is in love with an- other, whom she knows only by sight. Five years pass, the young wife again meets the young lover and the two have an affair. Finally when exposure cannot be avoided she suggests an elopment The young man has no money but has seen the town miser bury- ing his gold and the two go to dig it up. They are discovered in the act and the lover murders the old man by a blow on the head with a shovel. The wife returns to her home and the lover to his lodgings. When the police track him down, through the medium of his foot-prints, he Is taken to the Jail and locked up. Later he Is offered his liberty If he will reveal who the woman was who was with him when the deed waa committed, but he refuses and la led to the guillotine, and his head is severed Just aa in another part of the town a being is brought into the world which was the cause of all of the excitement. There were portions of the pic- ture that brought a laugh from a picture wise audience, because of the fact that In its sticking to the story the director made the mistake of not realizing that he ahould have allowed for the trend of advance of the publlo mind from the time the original story was written and this late day, when It waa adapted for motion picture purposes. As a feature this picture will serve on a program that has another strong feature to hack It up. Fred. THE RIGHTS OF MAN. Prince SIglsmund .... Dr. Carew Princess Lora His Royal Highness... General Brun American Ambassador Ambassador's Wife ... Red Cross Nurse Lady of Court Lady of Court Johann Fiederich Peasant George Clarke Richard Buhler Roaetta Brlce Francis Joyner Charles Brandt Walter Law ,.. Florence Williams Margaret Moore Marie Sterling Clara Lambert Richard Wangemann Bernard Siegel William Carr George Bliss Lubin (V-L-S-E) five reeler, written by Louis Reeves Harrison, produced by Jack Pratt Vague sort of scenario, full of cap- tions designed to further the cause of social- ism. Caption after caption Is full of such propaganda that would he cheered If shown at an Emma Goldman meeting on East Fourth street, New York. Here is a aample caption: "A body of men holding themselves account- able to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody. Absolute monarchies cannot stand In the light of growing Intelligence because they continue the uncivilised principle of gov- ernment founded on conquest and the base idea of hereditary rulers holding property In man and governing him by divine right; be- cause the idea of hereditary legislators is as inconsistent as that of hereditary Judges, or hereditary Juries, and as absurd as an heredi- tary mathematician, or an hereditary wise man." To insure the right kind of a recep- tion for the feature, the final "clinch" with the hero and heroine in each others' arms are seen with the stars and stripes as a background. Some excellent acting by Rich- ard Buhler and Francis Joyner help the pic- ture materially. But nothing will save it, r.ot even the American flag finish. Jolo. THE GIRL OF THE DANCE HALL A Laemmle (Universal) three-reeler, sce- nario and direction by Leon Kent All wrong from the start to finish—built upon an Impossible premise, not true to life and so full of coincidences aa to make it foolish. Girl lives with gambler In mining town. Mining engineer has lawyer friend In east Engineer goes to western town, meets girl In dance hall, follows her to gambler's hut, sees gambler abuse her, knocks gambler down. Girl admits she's gambler's mistress, engi- neer stakes her to go away. Dora (the girl) goes eaat and becomes an efficient stenog- rapher. Thst's the beginning of the Incon- sistencies, for a girl who had been a wait- ress In a mining town and then graduated to a "boose capper" In a western dance hall, would never become "an efficient" stenog- rapher. And, not only that, but where do you suppose she secures a position as "stenog"? Why, right In the office of the eastern lawyer-friend of the engineer. She marries the lawyer and on their honeymoon (she with bridal veil, etc.. In open touring car) the auto bowls over none other then the gambler. While senseless the gambler Is brought to their home, comes to, gets one peek at the bride, recognizes her and Imme- diately gets well, all signs of his Injuries fading away. Millions of autos In "the east," and It Just had to be that particular one to hit the gambler. Engineer Invited to call by lawyer. Curiously enough, lawyer had never mentioned name of his Intimate engineer friend to his wife, nor had he dictated any letters to him while the girl was his stenog. Gambler does usual blackmailing of wife. He sends her a note to call at a low dive. She confides In engineer who goes Instead, though wifoy follows and Is in turn followed by lawyer-hubby, vrbo Is suspicious of engineer. Engineer quarrels with gambler, who Is shot by a hanger-on who has a grudge against him. Engineer and girl walk out of dive, followed by bubby, and no one attempts to stop them, although a mirder has been com- mitted and engineer was struggling with the murdered mam at the time he was killed. Nothing 1b every heard of th« crime. Strange, isn't it? Hubby confronts wife and engineer. Latter tells whole story. Hubby with head down. Finally taken wife In his arms. Once more, It's all wrong. Jolo.