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His Picture in the Papers (1916)

A young man can only get the woman he loves if he becomes famous and manages to get his picture in the newspapers. He determines to let nothing stand in the way of his doing exactly that, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Clarence Handyside ...
Proteus Prindle
Rene Boucicault ...
Pansy Prindle
Jean Temple ...
Pearl Prindle
Charles Butler ...
Cassius Cadwalader
Loretta Blake ...
Christine Cadwalader
Homer Hunt ...
Melville
Helena Rupport ...
Olga
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Storyline

A young man can only get the woman he loves if he becomes famous and manages to get his picture in the newspapers. He determines to let nothing stand in the way of his doing exactly that, and in the process winds up getting involved with a gang of criminals and a locomotive chase. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Comedy

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Release Date:

13 February 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amour et publicité  »

Box Office

Budget:

$42,600 (estimated)
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Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

A copy of this film survives in The Library of Congress. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Douglas Fairbanks, ironically playing a guy who can't attract publicity
9 July 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Considering that this movie was made 90 years ago it's remarkably modern in several respects. The character Doug plays is the son of a highly successful businessman, a processed food magnate (possibly based on John Harvey Kellogg of breakfast cereal fame) whose products are widely advertised and touted for their healthy ingredients. The early scenes poke fun at the advertising campaign and at the father, Proteus Prindle -- what a name! -- plainly suggesting that he's more than a little pompous, and takes himself and his business too seriously. Son Pete, meanwhile, is something of a good-hearted slacker. He works for Dad but shows up late at the office, and yet it's clear that he's no lazy slob, either: this is a young man who performs his morning exercise by leaping OVER his bed. He's played by Doug Fairbanks, after all. Pete rolls in late because he isn't as dedicated to the business as his old man, and perhaps because he was out sowing some wild oats the night before, but he's not a bad sort, he just needs to find a project he cares about.

Pete becomes interested in a young woman named Christine (played by Loretta Blake) whose father is also a wealthy businessman. This gentleman admires Proteus Prindle, follows Prindle's health-food regimen, and obviously feels that Pete doesn't measure up to his old man's stature. Christine's father refuses to allow her to marry Prindle Jr. unless the young man demonstrates his worthiness in business. Therefore, Prindle Sr. sets a goal: Pete must generate positive publicity for the company by getting his picture in the papers. And so our hero launches a series of outlandish schemes designed solely to attract attention. At first he thinks the task will be easy, but he comes to find it surprisingly difficult: he stages a fake accident, but is ignored; he takes part in a boxing match, but it's broken up by the authorities; and finally he runs up against a gang of extortionist crooks who have been after Christine's father. I don't think it's telling too much to report that Pete ultimately saves the day, gets the publicity and wins the girl—again, this is Doug Fairbanks we're talking about. How can he lose?

It may seem strange to speak of a silent comedy of this vintage as "modern" but the satirical elements in this film, i.e. the jabs at advertising and publicity-seeking, were certainly fresh in 1916 and give the film an engagingly sassy quality today. The filmmakers' attitude towards Prindle's health food philosophy is also notable: clearly, they regard the old man's vegetarianism as wimpy, while son Pete's irrepressible appetite for red meat and strong drink is presented as robustly virile. Christine, meanwhile, rejects a pallid young suitor who follows the Prindle regimen. And we learn that Pete and Christine are kindred spirits when it's revealed they both pretend to enjoy health food to please their parents, but sneak out for REAL food (i.e. steak) afterward.

Doug's performance as a slacker-turned-action hero is still satisfying for modern viewers, although the film's battered condition (or that of the print I saw, anyway) makes it a challenge to follow everything that's happening. Silent cinema buffs will get a kick out of Erich Von Stroheim's brief turn as a thug who sports an eye-patch and attacks Christine's father. Loretta Blake is rather more mature and sophisticated-looking than Doug's usual heroines; in subsequent films his leading ladies sometimes appear to be teenagers (and they sometimes were), but on this occasion he's dealing with a mature woman. Miss Blake is fine in the role, but one can see why Fairbanks went with a different type of leading lady later on; those wide-eyed girls seem better suited to play opposite an over-grown boy like Doug.

His Picture in the Papers was one of Fairbanks' first star vehicles, and it marked his first collaboration with director John Emerson and his wife, screenwriter Anita Loos. The trio would work together with great success on comedies during the 1910s, before Doug switched to swashbucklers. This film is somewhat restrained compared to later entries, at least where action is concerned, but the satirical element keeps it surprisingly fresh and enjoyable.


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