|Index||3 reviews in total|
Princess Florence Lawrence ("The Biograph Girl") is fickle with men;
she rejects bearded Frank Powell when he arrives for their royal
wedding, and refuses to greet him with a kiss. The royal court is
thrown asunder; so, court "Cardinal" James Kirkwood conspires to
reintroduce lovely Ms. Lawrence to the dashing Mr. Powell. First, he
has Powell shave his beard (leaving the moustache attached); then, he
arranges to have Powell save Lawrence from a staged attack, by four
men. As planned, Lawrence falls for her noble savior; but, later, she
learns of the deception, and sends him away. Yet, she loves him
The D.W. Griffith stock is more difficult to spot in costumed frocks. Lawrence is pretty as the Princess; she and Powell have fun playing for the "The Cardinal's Conspiracy". Griffith always makes the most out of a man's facial hair.
*** The Cardinal's Conspiracy (7/12/09) D.W. Griffith, Frank Powell ~ Florence Lawrence, Frank Powell
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This picture is of the costume kind. In other words, one, when looking at it, has the impression that the author has to the pages of Stanley Weyman, Henry Harland or Morris Hewlett for his inspiration. We breathe the atmosphere of court life and are taken back, as it were, into a far more romantic period than the present. Briefly the story is that of the disinclination of a beautiful Princess to marry to order. A Cardinal, attendant at the court, conceives a plot, whereby the girl is made to fall in love with the unwelcome Prince. The latter hires a band of desperadoes and he rescues the Princess and her lady friends from the clutches of these terrible looking, but in reality quite harmless, villains. This is a step towards gaining the girl's heart, but the Cardinal, and the King, her father, put her to a series of further tests with the disguised Prince as the object. At the appearance of love in the Princess' bosom, they interpose all sorts of obstacles between her meeting the lover. A knowledge of female human nature will tell the reader that the success of this plot is assured, for the more numerous the attempts are to part them, the greater becomes the girl's ardor and finally she falls very much in love, indeed, with the Prince, who is given her hand, whilst the Cardinal and King, in a little interesting aside, take snuff and exchange knowing winks. We have read this story, but cannot locate it, nor is it important that we should do so. The point we desire to note is the excellent clearness with which the Biograph Company have worked out a simple love theme on a canvas crowded with couriers, gallants, bravos and the usual attendants of a kingly court. The acting throughout is stately and dignified, and so far as we can judge convincing. The famous Biograph heroine plays her part exceedingly well, so do the Cardinal and the King, who look their parts to the life. The lover is perhaps less youthful than he might have been. We regretted as we saw the film that it was in cold monochrome, because such a subject as this, with its varied costumes, scenery and handsome appointments would have made a lovely thing to look on if it were colored. The picture is well worth seeing on account of the clever way in which a very difficult theme is handled by the Biograph staff. The Moving Picture World, July 17, 1909
Cardinal's Conspiracy, The (1909)
** (out of 4)
Another failed comedy from Griffith has a woman refusing an arranged marriage so a Cardinal comes up with a plan for the man to change his looks so that the woman will marry him. Short on laughs but Pickford has a small part.
Renunciation, The (1909)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Two friends fall in love with the same woman (Mary Pickford) and try to kill one another. Part drama, part comedy but it remains decent throughout, although the performances could have been better. There's a nice twist ending that makes this better than some.
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