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A restless young girl yearns to leave her rural environment and "get away from it all". One day she stumbles upon a film crew shooting a western near her home. She makes friends with the film's leading man, who encourages her to try her luck as an actress. So she leaves her small town and goes to the big city to break into the picture business. However, things don't turn out quite the way she planned.Written by
Good to see Robert Warwick, matinée idol of the 1910's
Two days ago I watched "The Beloved Blackmailer" (1918) with matinée idol Carlyle Blackwell. The film was made in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The DVD on which it's released is a tribute to two films made in Fort Lee, and last night I watched the other on the DVD, "A Girl's Folly" (1917) with another silent matinée idol, Robert Warwick. It's really interesting to watch Robert Warwick when he was younger, although he was already 39 when he made this film!! I still remember him 33 years later (!) when he played the drunken sot Charlie Waterman in the poignant Bogart film "In A Lonely Place" (1950). Many may recall that part because it was done so well. He went on to act in many, many more films and on TV until 1962! Anyway, in this film he's an actor in a silent troupe who has a lady he's "kept" for some time, played by June Elvidge. He's tiring of her, although there's still some flame, and he admits as much to a friend. But the troupe goes to the country to do some scenes and there Warwick meets Doris Kenyon who's tired of the country, bored, and wants to go to the big city and "live". She gets a chance to do so because of her chance encounter with Warwick, and she goes to the studio and does a film test. It's a bomb! Since she's a failure, Warwick offers her a chance to stay and be "his", not meaning his wife, but his "kept" woman. She accepts. Doris Kenyon, to say the least, was very lovely to look at in this film. She was a genuine beauty. And all natural, not a made up lock or swipe or painted part about her.
This could have been any number of pre-code sound films made between 1928-1933. It had all the ingredients. The ending, however, was more like the Breen Code post 1933 films. It ends happily, with everybody ending up where he or she belongs. It was a very mild ending, for that matter, but it was a good romp getting there. What was most interesting - in fact, it was greatly fascinating to me and would be to many on this board - were the scenes of making a silent film! Studio habits, the old cameras, the making of sets, both inside and outside - all was here and shown in graphic detail. Make up and make up artists. Direction from a silent director - what there was of it - or not. One of the title cards read: "Often the actors don't know anything about the plot". Very, very interesting, to say the least.
Also, the fact that a cowboy style film was being made, and that in New Jersey! Of course, we must remember where "The Great Train Robbery" (1903) was made... Interesting film historically. Interesting to see Robert Warwick, another early matinée idol who's been all but forgotten, although he did have a very long career (nearly 50 years) and may be known by his face if seen by many. A recommended look at the past, to be sure.
One last note: this film has been available only in a 38 minute truncated version for the last nearly 95 years. This print is the complete film, nearly 70 minutes long. It has some severe nitrate deterioration in a couple of places, but it doesn't detract from the film at all except for a few seconds. It's great to be able to see this film as it was originally released for the first time since that original release.
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