Reviewed by George Blaisdell
Characterized by splendid direction and acting is "The Foolish Virgin," the Selznick picture featuring Clara Kimball Young. Albert Capellani has adapted and produced this story by Thomas Dixon in his own style--one is tempted to say in his inimitable style. Throughout the nearly seven reels one sees the hand of the master craftsman. Subtitles are scarce; for that matter no more than are shown are needed. There are two or perhaps three times in the course of the story when one is measurably stirred or moved, but not markedly so.
Mr. Capellani springs one distinct surprise. He keeps the spectator in the dark as to the character of Jim Anthony, the supposed mechanic who marries the romantically inclined school teacher. The fact that he is a thief is not revealed until it is discovered by his wife. The disclosure emphasizes the "reversion to type," a not unnatural manifestation by a son of the dissolute father, and of a mother who in later life takes up the making of illicit liquor and who also becomes a good customer of her own distillery
Miss Young as the dreamer of wonderful dreams who marries the first "knight" that appears on her horizon carries her part with her usual charm and distinction. Conway Tearle is Anthony, the husband who goes out and makes good after his narrow escape from death from a knife in the hands of his mother. Paul Capellani is the North Carolina doctor who brings back to life the injured Anthony, protects and cars for Anthony's wife during the years of regeneration, and submerges himself on the return of the man reconstructed. William Welch, Edward Elkas and Catherine Proctor are others in the cast who distinguish themselves by their work.
"The Foolish Virgin" is a good picture. It is carefully staged. Marked by especially clever touches are the scenes of the large schoolroom in the opening of the story. In spite of the realism in the first reel, wherein is shown the squalid environment of the boy who as a man is later to bulk big in the story, the subject is wholesome. It conveys its lesson, too, to those young women who rush into a marriage without investigating the antecedents of their prospective husbands.