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The Affairs of Anatol (1921)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  25 September 1921 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,055 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 3 critic

Socialite Anatol Spencer seeks a better relation that he has with his wife. He sets up the friend of his youth Emilie in an apartment only to have her two-time him. He comforts the near ... See full summary »

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(uncredited)

Writers:

(suggested by play of the same name), (by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Emilie Dixon
Theodore Roberts ...
Gordon Bronson
Elliott Dexter ...
Max Runyon
Theodore Kosloff ...
Mr. Nazzer Singh - Hindu Hypnotist
...
Annie Elliott
Monte Blue ...
Abner Elliott
...
Satan Synne
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Storyline

Socialite Anatol Spencer seeks a better relation that he has with his wife. He sets up the friend of his youth Emilie in an apartment only to have her two-time him. He comforts the near suicide Annie only to have her rob him of his wallet. "Satan" Synne, the "wickedest woman in New York," looks promising but she's only plying her trade to help raise funds for her husband's surgery. He decides to return to his wife, with all her faults, only to find her carousing with his best friend Max. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

25 September 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Five Kisses  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1999 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arthur Schnitzler's original one-act play, "Anatol," was written in 1893. Harley Granville-Barker's English adaptation opened in New York City on 14 October 1912 with John Barrymore in the title role, and it lasted 72 performances. See more »

Goofs

In the flashback sequence where Emilie is on a swing and two mirrors are set up to give repeated reflections of the action, the cameraman bending over his camera is visible a few times when the swing moves out of the way. See more »

Quotes

Anatol Spencer: Let me take you away from all this rotten, hypocritical crowd! Let's go to some clean, sweet place in the Country where people are honest and decent - and find ourselves again!
Vivian Spencer: I'll go with you to the country, Tony, if I can be sure there'll be milk - but no *milk-maids*!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Don't Tell Everything (1921) See more »

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User Reviews

"No good deed goes unpunished" OR A do-gooder who does good at the expense of others does no good at all!
11 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

Highly entertaining marital situation-morality play of the sort Cecil B. DeMille was so adroit during the silent period (He seemed to have lost his touch later on with similar bedroom farces/battle-of-the-sexes films in the 1929 & 1930 "Dynamite" and "Madame Satan" and wisely stuck thereafter to his other strong suits, adventures and Bibilical extravaganzas-morality tales). The title is a bit misleading in that the "affairs" are not affairs in the usual sense of the word. Wallace Reid stars in the title role as the handsome, rich husband Anatol de Witt Spencer, a chivalrous, idealistic, romantically 'inclined' young man who is unable to pass up any opportunity to aid young and beautiful damsels-in-distress, much to the dismay and exasperation (not to mention jealousy) of his glamorous wife Vivian (Gloria Swanson) and at the expense of their marital harmony. The three "damsels" in the film drive home the expressions "you can't tell a book by its cover" and "things are not what they may seem" and are covered in an effective "vignette" style fashion--Anatol's former sweetheart Emilie Dixon (Wanda Hawley) is now a rich old man's mistress, apparently sincere but in reality deceptively repentant. The scene where Anatol realizes he's been duped is a wildly satisfying, frenetic, cathartic one as he figuratively and literally (and how!) lets Emilie's sugar daddy "pick up the pieces!"

The 2nd damsel is a seemingly sweet and pure country girl (Agnes Ayres) who has despondently thrown herself into a river to drown due to the irreparable trouble she has caused in her marriage. She turns out to be rather scheming and seductive when Anatol yet again takes on the role of savior, as well as that of dupe, albeit the latter role as unwittingly as before. The scene where Anatol and Vivian attempt to revive the apparently half-drowned, unmoving Ayres is quite amusing, it looks as if they're performing calisthenics upon a corpse!

These 2 deceptive "damsels" cause Anatol to lament about the lack of "loyalty and honesty," but as a wise character in the film informs him, "loyalty and honesty, like charity, begins at home," which at this point has seriously deteriorated from neglect due to Anatol's dogged, romantically-tinged samaritan pursuits, when he goes off yet again to the ostensibly venal vixen Satan Synne (Bebe Daniels), an infamous stage star-courtesan known as "the wickedest woman in New York," but this time his intent is purely "romantic" rather than gallant. But his anticipated rendezvous doesn't unfold as expected when Satan, unlike the others, reveals herself to be genuinely "loyal and honest," deceptive, but in a good way. Unlike the other 2 segments, this one is not comical but poignant.

Particular praise for Wallace Reid, who is exemplary as Anatol, more than capably embodying his characters' sense of chivalry, romance, sophistication and "goodness," but also a man that is not above being human and falling prey to feelings of fury, stubbornness, revenge, and, of course, a pretty face. It's easy to see why he was a superstar in his day (unfortunately completely forgotten now). He had it all--the virile boy-man good looks, the tall strapping build, talent, and, most of all, charisma and energy to spare. A pity he died under excruciating circumstances at the young age of 32, it's almost enough to take some enjoyment out of the film, but even knowing he was in terrible pain and under the drugs that would help do him in when this film was made, he still manages to be so good (not to mention healthy-appearing) as to make any viewer think nothing was amiss. Regarding the other performers: Wanda Hawley and Agnes Ayres are competent in their parts, but that's it. Nothing stands out about them. Gloria Swanson gives a rather one-dimensional, unsympathetic performance (despite what should be a sympathetic role) which, like her admittedly attractive looks, is hard and brittle and unyielding. But the one who steals the show is Bebe Daniels, she impressively, movingly and convincingly portrays a tigress that is really a pussycat without becoming maudlin.

Other plusses include the exceptional, artfully decorated dialogue cards and the use of color in the Satan Synne segment, it's so expertly done that it appears nearly like Technicolor, seems to be a film that was made much later. And remember, the moral of the story is" "Loyalty and honesty, like charity, begins at HOME!"


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