I'm giving this top marks, though I haven't seen it yet. I hope to! UCLA has a print, so there may be a way to get a look. Barring that, I've rounded up a few contemporary newspaper reviews, which are uniformly enthusiastic-- though let it be said that it was considered a bit too French for the nice folks in Kansas and parts were censored. Included last is a writeup on this.
The La Crosse (WI) Tribune of Saturday, April 8th, 1916 had this to say:
The film version of Madame La Presidente, starring Anna Held --produced by the Oliver Morosco Photoplay company-- has not lost that spirit instilled by its French authors, that make this stage play such a complete success, not only in the European capitals, London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna, but in New York as well.
Photo production rather has added to the exceptional attraction of the story, not only because Anna Held is playing the name-part but also the scope of the stage is not to be compared to the facilities, that were used and the expenditure that was made to bring this forth as a film play supreme. "Madame la Presidente" leaves that happy, contented feeling of having seen the best of all photo-comedies.
The Lincoln (NE) Star, Monday, March 6th, 1916:
Everybody has heard of Anna Held who appears Friday and Saturday in the film version of "Madame La Presidente." A distinct novelty of this picture is the chance to see her do exclusively in pantomime her world-famous song, "I Just Can't Make My Eyes Behave,'' a song she has sung to countless thousands throughout the world. That she "gets it over," in the theatre phrase, without uttering a note is eloquent proof of her power as an expressionist.
The Coshocton, Ohio Tribune, Sunday, April 30th
Sunday and Monday we will have a great Paramount featuring Anna Held. Ejected from the Hotel Boulonge after a gay party, Anna Held calmly establishes herself for the night in the home of Augustin Galipaux, the judge issuing the order. As Mme. Galipaux just left for Paris, this makes extremely amusing complications.
The flabbergasted magistrate's surrender to both Anna Held's threats and charms would he a story in itself were not the true zest of "Madame La Presidente" enacted shortly afterwards in no less a place than the respected old Ministry of Justice in Paris, when the august Minister himself takes up the task of the gay soubrette's cavalier. "Madame la Presidente" presents the world famous Anna Held in pictures for the first time. This French classic is splendidly presented by the Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company.
The Topeka State Journal, Wednesday, February 9th, 1916
SAVES KANSAS AGAIN!
The Rev. Festus Foster Censors Anna Held's Show.
As though Kansas needed someone to revive the days of grasshoppers, drouths, Populism, Mary Elizabeth Lease, "Sockless" Jerry Simpson and the more recent Cones "patella" bill, the Reverend Festus Foster has stepped into the breach. Now Anna Held, the actress, is willing to take oath --in zipping, ripping French accent-- that all the legends of Kansas vagaries are exemplified in the action of the Reverend Mr. Foster in rejecting the "Madame La Presidente" film.
Continuing his course of guiding and safeguarding the tender morals of Kansas, the Reverend Mr. Foster rejected the new French film in which Anna Held starred. This week Anna Held is appearing in a Kansas City theater. If the Reverend Festering Foster --using the appellation of a number of disgusted Topeka club women-- should visit Kansas City this week, Anna Held will put reverse English on her speech when she tells the personal representative, of W.D. Ross, state superintendent, just what she thinks of his action.
Sliced the Film.
Several days ago the Reverend Festus Foster felt that a moral shock was about to overtake Kansas. So he sliced about 100 feet of Anna Held's best work from the popular French farce in which Fannie Ward made a notable success. It was all done, of course, to safeguard innocent, unsophisticated, pure minded Kansas from a blush of shame. When Anna Held heard of the action, though, she shrugged her alabastine shoulders --under cover of course-- and reaffirmed a growing impression that the vagaries of the human mind are quite beyond the realm of worldly knowledge.
"I am sure," she said, as only she could say it, "I do not know. It ees unknowable, monsieur, ze vagaries of ze human mind. I assure you, zere is nothing shocking. I do not, I never have, monsieur, played ze shocking. It ees so commonplace I cannot understand. A leetle lingerie here, a leetle exuberance there, and perhaps a daring situation-- zat ees all.
"But, tiens, I am Parisienne enough I do not need ze situation; I can make anyzing wicked if I choose wiz my eyes what cannot behave, eh, and other zingz but nozzing like that in 'Madame La Presidente:' not a zing."
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