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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)


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


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

woman | See All (1) »









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 »

Did You Know?


A copy of this film survives at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. See more »

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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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