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The Beloved Blackmailer (1918)

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The spoiled, somewhat "mama's boy" young son of a railroad magnate and the pretty young daughter of the magnate's partner set out to stop their respective fathers from their constant ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Carlyle Blackwell ...
William T. Carleton ...
Alexander Briggs (as W.T. Carleton)
Isabel Berwin ...
Mrs. Briggs (as Isabelle Berwin)
Evelyn Greeley ...
Corinne Norris
Charles Dungan ...
George Norris
Jack Drumier ...
Spike Brogan
Rex McDougall ...
Wesley Martin (as Rex MacDougal)
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Storyline

The spoiled, somewhat "mama's boy" young son of a railroad magnate and the pretty young daughter of the magnate's partner set out to stop their respective fathers from their constant quarreling. In the process they find themselves falling for each other. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Comedy | Romance

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12 August 1918 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Enormously popular screen team, nearly forgotten, now available to view
8 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Most here have heard, no doubt, of the screen team of Myrna Loy and William Powell. Screen teams are remembered by most people because those teams were popular enough to be used more than once or twice. Sometimes a lot more. But - how many here have heard of the screen team Carlyle Blackwell and Evelyn Greeley? Well, last night I watched the comedy "The Beloved Blackmailer" (1918) starring both of them. It's hard for us to fathom today, ninety some years years past the fact, but Carlyle Blackwell, hugely popular matinée idol of the late teens and early twenties, and Evelyn Greeley, ditto, made eighteen full-length, feature films together over a short five year period! Greeley retired from films in 1922 after her last effort with Carlyle, an early version of "Bulldog Drummond".

This one concerns a mollycoddle (and that's the word used in the film!

  • before Fairbanks, note) who needs manning up. His father is a


railroad tycoon, and his mother a mommy, but an incredibly socially important one. Carlyle Blackwell is their "baby". One note here: all the characters who play parents in this film - and who would be between 50-55, look like today's 65-75, with snow white hair, etc. It was disconcerting when I thought about it! Anyway... Carlyle Blackwell's father, played by William T. Carleton, and his partner, played by Charles Dungan, have a serious disagreement. Now his partner's daughter, played by Evelyn Greeley, has a thing for Carlyle Blackwell, and visa versa, it would seem. Through humorous manipulations Blackwell becomes a sort of he-man and she wins him enough to become his wife, but not before some really over-the-top manipulations, including blackmail - all this to stop the two partners - the fathers of the main characters - from quarreling.

This was a fun romp. It was meant to be. It's nothing more than a Saturday afternoon's matinée film in modern dress for the high school and college set of the day. This was filled with spoiled rich kids, the kind of folk Fitzgerald wrote about, although here they're portrayed humorously. As a viewer, though, one can sense the kind of characters that would make up what eventually would come to be known as The Jazz Age.

The introductory title says this is "in five parts". Well, the parts never showed, and the film didn't last more than 48-52-3 minutes, so it's ever so slightly truncated, probably "put back together" from reels that sat and deteriorated at the ends for a while. It's in really great condition, and it's wonderful to see a matinée style show instead of the blockbuster that is all that is known today from that era.

Carlyle Blackwell reminded me constantly of Ivor Novello, both in looks and mannerisms. Novello was gay, however, something Blackwell wasn't. Blackwell was married five times! Based on his hairstyle alone, he looks taken with himself, and was good looking enough that I'm sure the women threw themselves at him his entire career. He ended up going to Britain and becoming a producer of film, including being a silent producer of Hitchcock's first total directorial effort, "The Pleasure Garden", and then being the producer of "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog", which starred, coincidentally, Ivor Novello. He retired in 1930 at the age of 46 and lived until 1955 - this after an acting career of nearly 200 films.


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