The possibilities for photodrama that lie in semi-tropical Florida when they are worked out by a skillful director are demonstrated in "The Dance of Death," a dramatically strong two-reel Kalem production to be released on April 27th. It is a story of the South Sea Islands written by Phil Lang, the head of Kalem's scenario department, and produced by Robert G, Vignola. Mr. Vignola uses jungle a-plenty in his backgrounds. Undoubtedly he has been materially aided by the advice as his production has been enhanced by the participation in of Verna Mersereau, a charming, lithe and shapely dancer, who is said to bring to the picture first-hand knowledge of the customs and habits of the natives of the South Seas. Miss Mersereau, who with her mother journeyed from New York to Florida for the sole purpose of taking part in the making of this picture, is more than a dancer. That she has abundant talent for emotional portrayal will be evident to all those so fortunate as to see this subject. It is not alone in his careful, skillful treatment of tense dramatic situations that Mr. Vignola does praiseworthy work; we see plainly that he is an exponent of the best and truest in dramatic art, the restrained as opposed to the demonstrative. It is also in his selection and likewise construction of backgrounds that are artistic as well as convincing that go far toward the success of this fine picture. An illustration of this is the hut where lives the grass-skirted Sahki, or the theater stage, the drawing back of the velvet curtain of which reveals a jungled setting and the wild outdoors. Some of the best dramatic situations are of the notification of Richard of the death of his father; the bidding good-bye to the native wife; the meeting of Richard and Mabel; the dancing of Sahki on the theater stage, with Richard and Mabel in the box nearby; the discovery by Sahki of the husband, in search of whom she has come to America, and Richard's recognition of his wife; the self-destruction by the wife and the tragic scenes in the little dressing-room. It is about Sahki that will center the interest and the sympathy. Her graceful dancing will charm every audience. There is in it the light-hearted abandon, the naivete, of the child of the jungle, the freedom from the conventions of society, and, most important of all, the entire absence of the suggestive. Her work throughout, especially in the tragedy following the discovery of her husband, whets the curiosity to see her in straight work. - The Moving Picture World, April 18, 1914
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