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A Doll's House (1917)

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Nora Helmer has years earlier committed a forgery in order to save the life of her authoritarian husband Torvald. Now she is being blackmailed lives in fear of her husband's finding out and... See full summary »

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Title: A Doll's House (1917)

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Cast

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William Stowell ...
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Sydney Deane ...
Miriam Shelby ...
Helen Wright ...
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Storyline

Nora Helmer has years earlier committed a forgery in order to save the life of her authoritarian husband Torvald. Now she is being blackmailed lives in fear of her husband's finding out and of the shame such a revelation would bring to his career. But when the truth comes out, Nora is shocked to learn where she really stands in her husband's esteem. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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lost film | based on play | See All (2) »

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11 June 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maison de Poupée  »

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A Doll's House was more than a photographed stage play!
12 May 2007 | by (Chinatown, California) – See all my reviews

Lon Chaney's time spent working under contract for Universal Studios is not definite, but between the years of 1912 and 1917, we know that Chaney built a strong relationship with the husband-wife director team of Josephy De Grasse and Ida May Parke, who both kindly gave him important parts in their now forgotten pictures. One of their last films together, and certainly one of their best was A Doll's House (1917), based on the popular play by Nenrik Ibsen.

Though a minor success, it certainly did not do well with popular entertainment. Much of the blame, wrongfully went to Dorothy Phillips, who portrays the films lead Nora Helmer, a young and subservient wife who risks imprisonment to help restore the health of her young lawyer husband, Torvald Helmer (William Stowell). De Grasse was critically panned as well for directing the stagy and disappointing drama. However, most critics gave worthy praise to the films supporting rolls, such as, the Helmer of Stowell, the Nils Krogstad of the always brilliant Chaney, the Christina Linde of Miriam Shelby, the Dr. Rank of Sydney Deane, and the Anna of Helen Wright.

The film's highlight (coincide with the films best performance, being delivered by the brilliant Lon Chaney as the ruthless bribery Nils Krogstad), like the play, was the climax, when Torvald begins to lecture Nora on her conduct. She denounces his cruelty, and vivaciously slams the door on him, leaving the house, wandering into the night never to return. It's not clear-cut weather Phillips was quite up to par with the roll, however, when viewing the film, it's readily apparent that the critics were wrong, or a bit too harsh. Her fans at the time, were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt though.

Soon after the films release, Chaney would confront Universal Studio manager William Sistrom in 1918 asking for a raise, he according to Chaney, told him that he knew a good actor when he saw one but that looking directly at Chaney he saw only a wash-out.


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