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Reaching for the Moon (1917)

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A factory worker has always dreamed that he was meant for better things, to be rich and famous and in "the company of kings". One day he discovers that he is indeed the only heir to the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Eileen Percy ...
Elsie Merrill
Richard Cummings ...
Old Bingham the Boss
Millard Webb ...
Mr. Mann
Eugene Ormonde ...
Sergius Badinoff the Prime
Frank Campeau ...
Black Boris


A factory worker has always dreamed that he was meant for better things, to be rich and famous and in "the company of kings". One day he discovers that he is indeed the only heir to the throne of a small European kingdom. However, there are forces at work who don't want him to survive to take the throne. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

swashbuckler | See All (1) »







Release Date:

17 November 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Douglas dans la lune  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(color toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Reaching for the moon, and catching it, can be dangerous...
20 September 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Alexis Caesar Napoleon Brown (Douglas Fairbanks), on the one hand a modest office employee, on the other hand is, as his names suggest (and he's got busts and pictures of his two great statesman idols in his apartment), the son of a mysterious European lady, from whom all he's got left is an old picture (she'd died when he was born) - and the dream that he might belong to some old aristocratic family... And so he reads books about how to make your dreams come true, and keeps talking about them with his girlfriend Elsie (Eileen Percy, who starred together with Doug Fairbanks in quite some of his early films, and they always made a very fine match), who listens patiently, showing interest and understanding - but also warns him that, when dreaming about a beautiful future, he shouldn't set his hopes TOO high...

And yet - one morning, a foreign gentleman comes to visit him; and to tell him that he actually IS the heir to the throne of the small European kingdom of Vulgaria (and what a name, too...)! So he leaves immediately, accompanied by the gentleman who explains to him that there is another pretender to the throne called 'Black Boris', who's got his spies everywhere, and they've got to be VERY careful until he'll reach 'his' kingdom and be officially crowned... And so, when he finds himself in the middle of aristocratic intrigues, Alexis very soon finds out that being a prince isn't AT ALL the way he'd dreamed of!

For the second time after "The Americano", Doug Fairbanks mixes comedy and political drama in a most successful and hilarious way; this time he plays it 'earnest' (and what a cute day-dreamer he makes!), while the 'statesmen' of the strange little kingdom act all the more funny! The scenery resembles Venice, the palace Paris or Vienna, while the population of the fictional kingdom is more Balkan-like (by the time the film was made, the USA had entered WWI, and so by now the depiction of a European country had changed, of course, with something definitely threatening about it) - and amidst all the schemes and intrigues, there remains a LOT of room for Doug's famous comedy and acrobatics... A really enjoyable movie, action-packed and fast-paced, and certainly VERY unusual, a (today) much-underrated classic among the Hollywood silents of the 1910s!

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