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The Vicar of Wakefield (1917)

Not Rated | | Romance, Drama | 25 February 1917 (USA)
Dr. Primrose, the vicar of Wakefield, enjoys life with his wife and five children. His two daughters, Olivia and Sophia, are courted by two apparent gentlemen, Mr. Burchell and Squire ... See full summary »


Ernest C. Warde


Oliver Goldsmith (novel), Emmett Mixx




Credited cast:
Frederick Warde ... Vicar of Wakefield
Boyd Marshall Boyd Marshall ... George Primrose
Kathryn Adams Kathryn Adams ... Olivia Primrose
Gladys Leslie Gladys Leslie ... Sophia Primrose
Thomas A. Curran Thomas A. Curran ... Knight Geoffrey / Mr.Burchell
Robert Vaughn ... Squire Thornhill / Squire Wilmot
Carey L. Hastings ... Mrs. Primrose
William Parke Jr. William Parke Jr. ... Moses Primrose
Tula Belle Tula Belle ... Dick Primrose
Barbara Howard Barbara Howard ... Bill Primrose
Grace DeCarlton Grace DeCarlton ... Arabella Wilmot
Arthur Bauer Arthur Bauer ... Mr. Wilmot
Morgan Jones Morgan Jones ... Jenkinson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oscar W. Forster Oscar W. Forster
Joseph Phillips Joseph Phillips ... (as Joseph H. Phillips)


Dr. Primrose, the vicar of Wakefield, enjoys life with his wife and five children. His two daughters, Olivia and Sophia, are courted by two apparent gentlemen, Mr. Burchell and Squire Thornhill, who is Dr. Primrose's landlord. But when Mr. Burchell is supposed to have seduced and abandoned Olivia, the Primrose family finds its fortunes dwindling in every sense. It is learned that Burchell is innocent of the seduction, and the real villain is unmasked, but not before Primrose and his family come very near disaster. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance | Drama


Not Rated






Release Date:

25 February 1917 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A complete 16mm Pathe print of this film Survives in the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's Film Library Collection. See more »


Version of The Vicar of Wakefield (1912) See more »

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User Reviews

Cinematic Progress on Literary Adaptations
7 January 2010 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

"The Vicar of Wakefield", based on the once popular novel, is a rather boring melodrama about the misfortunes of the vicar and his family, most of whom, apparently, are saps to any swindler, thief, impostor or scoundrel they happen to meet. The pious family seems incapable of adjusting to, and initially unrecognizing of, the sinners surrounding them. This was the second adaptation of the novel by the Thanhouser Company, who had previously made a one-reel version of it in 1910. Thanhouser seems to have specialized in such classic literary adaptations, which may be viewed thanks to the disproportionately good number of the studio's films available on home video compared to other early producers. This 1917 photoplay includes some rather odd introductory title cards, which appear original, that describe some history of the book and its author.

Comparing the 1910 and 1917 Thanhouser adaptations illustrates the rapid development in film-making that had taken place within just a few years. Besides the change from the one-reel standard of Nickelodeons to feature-length films, there is also discernible progress in scene dissection and narrative structure. The 1910 short film used the tableau style of title cards describing subsequent action, which was photographed by a stationary camera—one title card and one shot for every scene. By 1917, there's some crosscutting and matching between different perspectives of actions. The 1917 version also features some good historical costumes, settings and overall production values.

Another interesting comparison is to look at the difference the scene dissection and more intimate photography make for the performance of Frederick Warde. Warde was a Shakespearean actor from the theatre, and he starred in two early filmic Shakespeare adaptations, "Richard III" (1912) and "King Lear" (1916, and also produced by Thanhouser), which are both available on home video. Although there's much bowing and some peculiar gesturing with an upright forearm, Warde, and more so the rest of the production, are afforded to be less theatrical than such primitive photoplays as "Richard III". Warde's performance in a later 1917 Thanhouser production "The Fires of Youth" was even better adapted to the screen.

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