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The Whirl of Life (1915)

The plot is a loose autobiographical interpretation of the life of Vernon and Irene Castle, interspersed among a typical melodrama of the period


Oliver D. Bailey


Vernon Castle (story), Catherine Carr (scenario)




Cast overview:
Vernon Castle ... Vernon Castle
Irene Castle ... Irene Castle
Arthur Stanford Arthur Stanford ... John Crosby
Kate Blancke ... Mrs. Foote (as Kate Blanke)
William Carleton Sr. William Carleton Sr. ... Mr. Foote
Edward Cort Edward Cort ... The Gangster


Irene Foote agrees to marry Crosby, a member of the New York Stock Exchange and the pick of her affluent New Rochelle parents, but while sea diving, meets Vernon Castle, a dancer, and promptly falls in love. After moving to Paris, the young couple, now married and fighting starvation, splurge one evening and visit the Café de Paris. At the request of a rich American, the Castles perform a dance and become an overnight sensation, eventually returning to New York to open their own club, Castles-by-the-Sea. Crosby, now a theatrical producer, plans to open a musical on the same night, but knowing the Castles are the bigger attraction, connives to stop them by hiring thugs to kidnap Irene. With great daring and the help of his dog, Vernon catches up to Irene and rescues her from Crosby's clutches. After a series of mishaps, the dancing duo arrives at their club in time for the show, and Crosby loses all. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Did You Know?


This film was remade as The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) starring Fred Astaire (as Vernon Castle) and Ginger Rogers (as Irene Castle). Irene Castle herself served as the Technical Advisor on the latter film. However, she later disowned the Astaire and Rogers motion picture due to its historical anachronisms and conservative depiction of the era. See more »


Mr. Foote: No man whose brains are in his feet instead of his head will ever marry a child of mine.
See more »


Remade as The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) See more »

User Reviews

A film it is impossibe to hate
8 July 2018 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

I thought I would hate this film and I tried quite hard to do so. It was really just a bit of publicity by theatrical impressario John Cort for his two dance-stars of the moment Vernon and Irene Castle. It begins with what ought to be rather vomit-making sentimental autobiography but actually manages to be sufficiently at second degree both verbally (she eyes hi "Apollo-like form" and falls in love) and visually (the huge close-ups in the early scenes actually come over as a gentle mockery of one of the the worst faults in US film of this period); the picture of life in Paris for aspiring artistes is attractive and the dance is the Café de Paris is beautiful.

The story of their being saved by the craps-playing black valet Walter Ash (played in the film by himself) was one that Irene Castle told incessantly over the years but has an air of being a little too close to caricature to ring true. Howevet it is truer than the 1939 biopic made by RKO about the Vernons for which they refused to cast Ash (or any black actor) on the grounds that viewers would find it offensive! A reminder if needed for fans of Birth of a Nation that racial segregation in the US became in many ways worse between 1915 and the 1930s....

The melodramatic kidnapping plot that follows is quite absurd (in fact a plug for the Castles by the Sea nightclub the pair had opened in 1914) but, again, is over-the-top verbally ("one poor, lone, little Irene") and visually so as to be entirely enjoyable nonsense. It is not a great film; it is not even a particularly good film but, as the New York Mail, which, like me, was pleasantly surprised by the film, put it, the Castles "bring a very definite art and charm". And Irene was really rather lovely....

The Vernons were celebrities and Irene became a fashion-icon (evoked in the film) but he was killed in 1918 after having joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Another great man who fought in and survived the war only to be assassinated by a disgruntled drummer in 1919, bandleader and composer Jim Europe can be glimpsed briefly in the film along with legendary jazz drummer Buddy Gilmore.

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None | English

Release Date:

October 1915 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Livets virveldans See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cort Film Corp. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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