Variety (October 1922)

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PICTURES 1 ,11. . -a, !-• ■•>« A -f-T ra i -r • Friday, October 6, 1922 MAN WHO FLAYED GOD IMatlnctivt* Production* feature with Gaorge Arliiti. Made* frum thn play by 4u1m Kckcrt Uoodmati fouixicd on a stnry tr Oourerneur Morrla. Keip:tr<cd by Ignited Artlata. Direction by Harmon Wriirht. John Arden Uforse Arllss Marjory Ulttine .....Ann ForrcitC Carter Iv^n Hlmpaon Phi Up Stfvens Edward Karle Mildred Arden Kffle Hliannun A Httl<> gill Miriam Itattinta A littl,e Niy Micky liennott A young woman. Mary Aator A xoung man Pierre Uendron An old wiiman... Margaret Heddon An old man J. U. Walah •The Man Who Played God" re- peats the line impro.ssion of "Dis- I nteli," done under the same auspices and with the same star. It is flrst I of all a thoroughly Interesting pic- j tare and story and it in played in splendid style. The production ele- ment is 100 per cent., and Anally the picture is eminently wholesome ta material purpose. There la some pretty profound philosophy in this story by Oouver- neur Morris, one of the best writers and thinkers in the American short- story field. The story makes the average screen recital seem cheap by comparison. It has dignity as one of its best points of appeal and something of the same high aim as "The Miracle Man." Not that it is "preachy." for it is not. It's a thpr'- oughly absorbing human story told in strong dramatic terms and If it has a moral the precept is neatly concealed. Certainly it isn't forced on the audience. The one mischance In the screen version is its tendency to drift into saccharine sentiment, particularly in the scenes with the two kld.s. The sympathy .stuff is laid on here pretty thick. But that's a small detail compared to many excellences. In the film tke preliminaries are a trifle tiresome. It takes a long time and much effort to get to the point. The preliminaries 'are over-elab- orated in their painstaking "plant- ing." John Arden is xm eminent musician who Is made deaf by an explosion when anarchists try to assassinate a European king at a oomm: nd concert. He Is devoted to bis young wife and she to him. but the affliction which has wrecked his career makes him moody and capricious. He studies lip reading and becomes so expert that he can "read" conversation between per- soDs at a great distance by observ- ing them through field glasses. Melancholy drives him to the verge of suicide, but he finds a new Interest in life by studying the sor- rows of his fellow men and helping to cure tbem. Seated in the window of his apartment, he can follow the conversations of i>eople seated in the park across the street. He learns that a young husband is dying because he cannot afford to go to the country to regain hi.s health. An old couple are crushed by hardships in the great city. He flnance.s the young husband's cure and 8ecure» a home in the country for the old pair, losing his own sufTerinKS in aiding others. Meanwhile an ex-flame of his wife's has renewed his suit, argu- ing that she is wasting her life on a broken man. Arden learns of this situation, as he has learned the other affairs, by lip reading through his field glasses. He sees his wife put the lover's advances aside, de- claring that she is bound by duty. Arden resolves to give the wife her freeilom, not knowing that she really lovo.s him. He goes to church to perform an obligation .and while there bee omes giddy and falls. The shock of the fall mlracuously re- stores his hearing and brings the happy ending. The settings of wealth are ex- ceplionally good and a striking at- mosphere of reality surrounds the whole production, to which the acting of Mr. Arliss con- tributes much. Hush. friend of the family marries her after ail, and after the father had been killed by a poKsonous drink he had prepared for the friend. Mr. Ingram wrote and directed the story, the program says. He did this picture some years ago for Unlver- nal, under the title of "Black Or- chids." The U's production, as usual then, was a cheap one, likely under |20,000. and Ua circulatioi! meant nothing In those days to the picture business of now. The Metro's production looks like $250,000 or more. Mr. Ingram thought well enough of It, however, to reproduce the tale under another title and on a more elaborate scale. But it's not a i>loture to follow "The Prisoner of Zenda.'' The film strings out like a book story, closely followed. Its big mo- ment is at the finish, following a duel where the friend. Marquis Per- roni (Lewis Stone) was mortally wounded by the son, Ivan de Mau- pin (Ramon Navarro). The duel was watched by Zanella, the vamp (Barbara La Marr), a professional crystal gazer and wife of the mar- quis. I'pon the doctor's Informing the marqttis he was finished, the marquis said he woiiid live despite thorn until sundown, and ne did. The ending of this seri^^.s of events (it's a cut-back tale within a related stovy> brings the three together in a citadel where the husband throws his wile ijito a dungeon and, after killing the son, throws him in with her. He had been doing quite well for a mortally wounded man. After dispatching; the couple, lie graceful- ly died himself. ThU finale is not unlike the intrigue of CorelU's "Ven- detta," and another scene in the picture suggested thi Baron Chov- rial of the late Ri«:hard Mansfield. This W!\« the Maniuin de Mapln as played by Edwarct ConnfUv. Mr. Connelly exaggerated the infirmities of the marquis until he was totter- ing. But the marquis the dining table, remaining there star- ing after all of the guests had de- parted. The scene was set in an at- tractive Parisian wine cellar. A snatch of the war here and there Is lightly brought in through the son going to Flanders. It is not prominent nor effective. The picture looks to have been made abroad. Its chief feature Is a trained chimpansee. The animal had an eerie appearance as it fre- quently came into the scenes but did nothing sensational. A comedy bit was a cat always on the edge of a glass aquarium attempting to snare the gold fish within. Other than Mr. Stone's playing there is nothing striking in the film's acting. Mr. Stone, when getting to the meat of his part, did stalwart playing. The vamp role presented no finer acting opportunities than the usual vampish roles, while Mr. Nevarre's part could also have been assumed by almost any juvenile ot pictures. The detail appears to be splendid, the direction makes no decided calls for action but lopes along nicely un- til reaching the duel, that was not brilliantly staged. Sympathy will go out to Ivan, sympathy because he fell for a v.amp and that he was killed foi her, through his Innocense. but he would have been a stronger character here if he had been Ivan the Terrible instead of Ivan the Sap. The greatest difl!lculty this pic- ture must overcome is the title. "Trifling Women." as the title is too big and encompasses t<>o much for this film to stand up under it. Hime. .ii;< FACE TO FACE Mystery story pro«!uc*d by Pl.iygoers. Marffuerlte Marah and Colt AH>ort.-*on feat- ured. Main tlt!e doei» not cive dir<'otar or author. At the New York Sept. 'ii*. Picture was done at the New York as half a double bill. When new pictures come out In this way one looks for inferior quality, but "Face to Face" is somewhat of a surprise. The film has several good points. It is shrewdly constructed to mislead the spectator's imagination and then straighten out a mystery tangle in an altogether unexpected way. The effect In the picture is a minor one. There is no reason In the world for making the feminine Sherlock Holmes an 18-year-old schoolgirl. It Is all very well by way of novelty to have the mystery solved by a woman, but when the naive young thing of this story makes brilliant deductions, although it has been laboriously establishedthat she is an inexperienced child, one leather re- volts from the argument. She might Just as well have been made a clever woman of the world, and then the story would have been plausible. The direction slips In one particu- lar. Fussy attention to small details makes one rather Impatient. There was no ground for the foot- age to make It plain that the three mep in the house were going to bed. Each in turn was shown in the elab- orate process of undressing. It must have taken up more than 100 feet. A mere suggestion was all that was required. This is only one of marty such passages. The director was overanxious to get his point set. so he planted it three or four times to make sure. This robs the picture .of briskness and direct narrative. Old man Hartley's business Is- on the brink of ruin when his son John brings word that he has negotiated a loan from the bank. Things are more encouraging until Martin, Hartley's brother-in-law. shows that in spite of the loan the crash is unavoidable. Everybody goes to bod except the old man, who prowls abou^ nervously. A youns ne'er-do- well, an amateur in crime, enters the house, bent on robbery. In the dark a pistol shot flashes and Mar- tin finds the old man dead. The young burglar is arrested. Meanwhile the daughter Is sum- moned from school. She brlngrs her chum. Helen (Miss Marsh), home with her. The burglar, a bewildered young drug addict, persists that al- though he fired a shot It was not at the old man. Helen believes him and goes -sleuthing. When the ac- cused is put on trial she appears in court and makes astonishing state- ments on the witness stand. She has discovered by close search that the young accused entered the house through a bathroom window. Start- ing for the bathroom door in the dim light he faced his own image In the door mirror and nervously fired. Helen brings the door into court to show the bullet hole. Then who did fire the shot? All this time suspicion has been direct- ed toward Martin, the brother-in- law. But he is able to show by a letter that the old man had com- mitted suicide rather than face busi- ness ruin. With his quick solution of the mystery a brief passage suf- fices to indicate the marriage of Helen and John Hartley. The merits of the picture overbalance the de- merits. Altogether it is as good as most of the like subjects trumpeted with a lot more exploitation. • Rush. It transpires that the Fabians have had control of the Goodwin. Newark, N. J., since Augpust. This came out as a rumor some time ago. but was at oitce denied. So far the Fabians liave not made any an- nouncement of the transfer of the house from Jans to them. This leaves only three downtown pictura houses not in their control, the Ter- minal (Fox). Newark (Adams 15r»>s.) and Si land (Center Amusement peopi?). ' :' Jack Norton, the English come- dian. ;uTi\ed in New York late last week after several months in iit^r- lin. where i<e did .".pme film work for the Carroll .and Players' com- panies. aim » T' TRIFLING WOMEN PROLOG Zareda, a product of th" Orient. wPh supernatural powera, meeting with gn-al Mucce-aa in her aasumed role of aorcirvsH, Hurcumb^ !•» her vanity, and at the apex of her triumph pays with her nfe to learn for hor .sins. ., . „ , Zareda Haronpsa Norka Rouakaya l.^'on de Soyerac. the novellsit I'omeruy Cannon JacquoHne, his daughter. .Uarbara Ia Marr }{f.nrl Kamon Novarro Zarada, the fortune teller. .Unrbar.* I.a Marr Baron Francois de Maupin Kdward Connelly Ivan, his »on . Kamon Novarr.. The Marquis Forroni I..ewi8 Stone Pere Alphonse Bldonfleuu. innkeeper.... HuKhle Mark Col. Roybet <}fn«' rou>-'t Achmet J"»'»n (JeorK^ raesar Jcsae AVeldon HaRson Hyman Hinun«ky Uatlm-Tal Joe Martin The try of Metro to put over "Trifling VVomen" as a special at thf Astor, New York, at $1.50 top, doesn't look feasible. The rea.sdn i^ that the picture doesn't approach the special class. Other than the Rex Ingram name attached, it will be fortunate to command attention as a regular Metro release. The title may mean something to the box of- fice. It's a good title, much better j^han the film, now running in two parts and to short tiin*^ f'l i .=?i).-'<Mat. The mam d<fect is Ui-ti you urc alway.s for sometlitng l<> happen that doesn't. It's the story of a vamp, which doesn t back up the plural of the women in its name. The same vamping tale has been told befute ill many different way.s Here the rnain though mciiRf^r in- '^- terest iff that TtTerTJmrptng om? h.'ns tt father and lus son la to a-, while the I The first nuui to see Nights latest sensation wired: ''Notoriety" is the biggest yet. Didn't think it was possible to pack so much action in one pic- ture. Don't know how he did it, but WiU Nigh has made .the greatest box-oCFice seller I ever laid eyes on.*^ ^ SAM GRAND Federated Film Exchange of New England •■■:>■■ .'■/ ii NOTORIETY 5> A TREMENDOUS EIGHT-REEL SOCIETY DRAMA BRILLIANTLY, STAGED AND SUPERBLY CAST BY THE INDUSTRY'S LEADING INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR, WILL NIGH THE CAST : MAURINE POWERS ROD LA ROCQUE RICHARD TRAVERS MONA LISA JOHN GOLDSWORTHY MARY ALDEN GEORGE HACKATHORNE J. BARNEY SHERRY ANDERS RANDOLF ^ IDA WATERMAN VT ■r-^•^-' ''■■*' ■-,.■■*' ■'■,'■' ',■'''■ . ' Produced and Indepen dently Distributed by L. LAWRENCE WEBER and BOBB Y NORTH 160Q BROADWAY NEW YORK CITY Forelsn Rightt Controlled by • ^ .. APOLLO TRADING CORP.. 1600 BROADWAY, N. Y. CITY