1915-1917 films of Lionel Barrymore

As the sheer output of his films dropped to fewer than, oh, 20 a year or more, I've decided to divide up the remaining years of Mr. B's filmography according to events and/or films of larger concern. So, I stop here at 1917 because Mr. B was absent from the screen for much of 1917 and completely in 1918 and 1919 to be on stage with his brother John in Peter Ibbetson (premiered April 17,1917), The Copperhead (premiered February 18,1918), and The Jest, again with John (premiered April 9,1919 running through February of 1920).  The 1918-1919 range is the longest time he spent not making films in his career after 1911's The Battle.

WILDFIRE: John Keefe. Released January 25, 1915. Directed by Edwin Middleton and featuring Lillian Russell in her only feature-length film (five reels). Shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The film is not extant in complete form, prints missing the 3rd reel and ending, but the film was one of the "Frozen in Time" films unearthed from a Canadian swimming pool in Dawson City where they had been tossed in the early 20th century. There's a documentary on it, and the film has been shown since that discovery. I am not certain if that version had anything that other extant prints did not.

Allmovie sayeth thus: This picture marked the screen debut of theatrical icon (and noted suffragette) Lillian Russell, though at 54 -- the age she was when she made this film -- she was a bit old to be playing somebody's daughter. Gambler John Keefe (Lionel Barrymore) kills Bob Barrington during a card game and steals the bill of sale to the dead man's racing stable. Although Barrington's death is considered suicide, the investigation by sheriff John Garrison (Glen White) takes him to the East, where he meets up with Keefe at the home of Barrington's daughter Henrietta (Russell). Something is clearly amiss, and Henrietta and the sheriff slowly uncover the evidence which begins to ensnare Keefe. Keefe realizes the jig is up on the day that the stable's prize filly, Wildfire, is entered in a big race. He gets ready to leave the country by placing a large bet on another horse and bribing Wildfire's jockey to throw the race. But Henrietta overhears the plot, and with Garrison's help, she foils Keefe. Garrison finally gets his man -- and the girl.
LB as John Keefe, gambler
MPWorld Oct-Dec 1914 blurb for the film
A MODERN MAGDALEN: Lindsey Released February 17, 1915. Five reels, directed by Will. S. Davis. Sayeth IMdB: Although laborer Joe Mercer loves factory girl Katinka Jenkins, she agrees to become the mistress of Lindsay, the mill owner, in order to escape dire poverty and cruel parents. Katinka sends Lindsay's money to her family, but eventually, he finds himself unable to pay his employees, and only under Joe's influence are the men prevented from striking. Reformer John Strong, who loves Katinka's sister Olivia, visits Katinka to request that she cease her disgraceful dance performances, but he soon submits to her charms and is passionately embracing her when Olivia enters the room. Katinka then learns of the situation at the mill and realizes that the compromise of her honor has ruined more lives than her own. After the rioting workers burn Lindsay's factory, Joe prevents Katinka from killing herself and convinces her to become an army nurse. She saves his life when he contracts yellow fever, and the two are at last united. Unknown if it is extant, but does not seem to be so far.

Catherine Countiss and LB--her name is spelled several ways in reviews, etc.
Sacramento Union review Ap 26 1915
Sacramento Union review Aug 13 1915 (rerelease)
January 1915 blurb in Motography that LB had been secured for the film

THE CURIOUS CONDUCT OF JUDGE LEGARDE: Judge Randolph Legarde Released mid April,1915, a five-part film. Directed by Will S. Davis and based on a play of the same name (Variety mistakenly attributes the direction to LB). TCM summary sayeth: "Judge Randolph Legarde refuses to accept a plea that a woman's dual personality, one good the other evil, caused her to commit a crime. Later, however, when Legarde has an accident to his head, it causes him to take on an invidious personality at night and become the leader of a gang of thieves, while remaining a sober judge in the daylight. His fiancée, Agnes Caverly, and her father, a lawyer, notice his disturbance at times, but they attribute it to overwork. Legarde becomes infatuated with Amelia Garside, who accuses him of being the judge who earlier sentenced her. When he vehemently denies this, she falls in love with him. After "The Quill," a stool pigeon, tells the police of Legarde's plan to rob his own home, Legarde's gang is captured. Agnes' father, sensing the truth about Legarde, hires a brain specialist who cures him. Legarde then marries Agnes, leaving Amelia, whose innocence has been established, brokenhearted." Motography review of April 17, 1915, by Charles R. Condon adds (a lot!):
 My hometown paper, the San Antonio Express-News, has this:

 And for all this, I'm still looking for a photo from the film!

A little note from Motion Picture Magazine, 1915--note the blurb on John's Are you a Mason?:

THE ROMANCE OF ELAINE: Marcus del Mar (I have seen Marcus, Marcius, and Maricus!) Initial release (serial) June 14, 1915, 12 episodes. Directors George Seitz and Leopold & Theodore Wharton, filmed in Ithaca, NY. It does not, tragically, seem to be extant. NOTA BENE: Motion Picture News of May 22, 1915, page 58, says Lionel Barrymore had been added to the cast of "the new Exploits of Elaine"--except that was made in 1914. The reference must be to The Romance of Elaine. MPNews also tells us "A change will be made in the cast of 'Exploits'. Lionel Barrymore is being added. Edwin Arden leaves the 'Exploits to play in feature pictures for Pathe'" (p 73 Ap-Jun 1915)

notice LB is "NOW included" to this sequel to the Exploits

 Drama struck the studio after filming was completes--well, lightning did:
Jun6 26, MPNews p 64
June 26, 1915 review of chapter one:

From Chapter One, The Lost Torpedo

MP News Vol 11 No 24 1915, pg 8
From Kotsilibas-Davis' Barrymore biography
From Chapter 2 review, Jul 3, 1915, MPNews:
LB sitting next to Pearl White on the bench, in The Gray Friar
 Chapter 3, "The Vanishing Man," was reviewed thus by MPNews in July 10, 1915: "In it the search of Marcus [see??] del Mar, played by Lionel Barrymore, and his agents for the torpedo model in Elaine's possession continues. They get the torpedo model but, in the running fight it is hit by a revolver bullet and knocked into a cocked hat. Jameson's hat blows into the water when he and Elaine are out in her auto. In recovering the hat, Elaine uncovers a message which tells her the enemy is still on her trail, This chapter is fully up to the Elaine standard and paves the way for further complications." (p 80)

Chapter 4, "The Submarine Harbor" (July 17, 1915, MPNews p 122):

 Chapter 7 review, MPNews Aug 7, 1915:
LB on right

The serial had 12 chapters: 1. The Lost Torpedo, 2. The Gray Friar, 3. The Vanishing Man, 4. The Submarine Harbor, 5. The Conspirators, 6. The Wireless Detective, 7. The Death Cloud, 8. The Search Light Gun, 9. The Life Chain, 10. The Flash, 11. The Disappearing Helmets, 12. The Triumph Of Elaine.

THE FLAMING SWORD: Steve **quite possibly, he is actually the villain, Calhoun. Released June 28, 1915. Directed by Edwin Middleton, with Jane Grey and Edith Diestel. A Rolfe production filmed in New Jersey at Centaur Film.

MPWorld Review of July 17, 1915:

MPWorld had this to say in the August 21, 1915 issue:

DORA THORNE: Lord Earle Directed by George Nichols. Released October 27, 1915. 4 reels. With Marguerite Snow as well as LB.

MP News Nov 13, 1915 review:

A YELLOW STREAK: Barry Dale. Released December 6, 1915. Directed by William Nigh and also featuring Irene Howley as Mary, Dorothy Gwynne as Virginia, and John Goldsworthy as Richard Marvin. 5 reels.

During the filming of this little piece, Metro Picture News put out a little blurb saying Lionel Barrymore had been arrested from trespassing during filming, according to MPNews of November 27, 1915, p 52

Motography of February 19, 1916, also noted the following about Mr. B in reference to A Yellow Streak

This may be the source of a bio anecdote about LB dropping in to watch an old film of his and hearing this.

Review from MPNews of Dec 11, 1915:

My edit of an ad

In late December, 1915, Lionel Barrymore signed a "long term contract" with Metro after appearing in A Yellow Streak. (MP News of December 25, 1915)

DORIAN'S DIVORCE: Richard Dorian Directed by OAC Lund for Rolfe. Released June 6, 1916. 5 reels, with Grace Valentine and Louis Wolheim in a small part. It supposedly is preserved at the Cinemathique Francaise. Allmovie summarizes thusly: "Wealthy clubman Richard Dorian (Lionel Barrymore) is a lighthearted soul who can't seem to take anything seriously, including his wife (Grace Valentine). Even when they decide to divorce, he meets the lawyers with a smile. When one of the attorneys suggests a charge of brutality, Mrs. Dorian points out that it is ludicrous. Dorian offers to have a party on his yacht, during which he will try very hard to be brutal to her to give her grounds for the divorce. Among the partygoers are Mrs. Dorian's guardian and Morgan, a smuggler who is buying the yacht. The guardian, who has squandered Mrs. Dorian's money on the stock market, kills himself. Dorian thinks that his wife killed him, gallantly takes the blame himself, and dives overboard. He becomes a tramp and is shanghaied by Morgan's men to become a stoker on his former yacht. Dorian's steward, Puck, is still onboard, and he tells Dorian that the guardian committed suicide. They escape and make sure that the smugglers are captured. Dorian is about to head West, but he crosses paths with his wife, and they acknowledge that everything that has happened has made them realize how much they really love each other".
Dorian's Divorce.jpg
From the Eastman House IMAGE magazine, 1957

Image result for dorain's divorce

THE QUITTER: "Happy Jack" Lewis Directed by Charles T Horan, released July 10, 1916, 5 reels. Supposedly holed up at EYE Institute in the Netherlands. Allmovie synopsis: When his friends decide that "Happy Jack" Lewis (Barrymore) needs a wife, they place an ad in the paper for one. Glad Mason (Margaret Skirvin) replies and sends her picture. Jack's pals decide she is the one, and after he sees her picture, Jack thinks so too -- until the saloon proprietor points out that maybe she doesn't look anything like her photo. In fact, she could be an old hag! This gives Jack cold feet and before Glad gets to Paradise Gulch, he ducks out of town, leaving her his home and his claim. While he is gone, Jack gets arrested -- twice -- escapes from jail, is the victim of a hold up, and a series of other misadventures. He heads back home and arrives just in time to save Glad -- who looks just like her photo -- from being attacked. She helps him save his claim from swindlers and they end the last reel happily together.
Dorian's Divorce and The Quitter, Motography Ap 29, 1916
Motography review pg 1
Motography review pg 2


Dorian's Divorce/The Quitter/ A Yellow Streak era LA Herald

Moving Picture World July 1, 1916 pg 113 review
Sep 19, 1916 San Bernardino News

Some happening posters for Mr. B's films from Rolfe!
The Quitter.jpg

THE UPHEAVAL: Jim Gordon Directed by Charles Horan. Released August 28, 1916. Yet another Rolfe film, also with Marguerite Skirvin and Edgar Davenport, who almost went on to great fame, apparently. It exists at the Eastman Museum. There is not as much about this film as there is about The Quitter, but we did what we could. Here speaketh the trade mags about this drama:

Mpworld (final words below)

California newspaper ad

Sept 28 1916 ad, El Paso Herald. Love the tag line!

THE BRAND OF COWARDICE: Cyril Hamilton Directed by John Noble. Released Oct 23, 1916 (apparently, it actually came our October 30th, 1916. The "program" was apparently the week's offerings) . As far as I can tell, a lost film. This film is set or based around the Mexican border area and purportedly was also shot in part at Billie Burke's home (Motography, Sept 23, 1916, p 741). Grace Valentine and Robert Cummings also star. LOUIS WOLHEIM plays Mullin, a bully Mr. B gets to beat up in an epic battle. Apparently, the good Cyril also throttles someone in the film. A great deal of publicity surrounded this film. Some good images remain from this film!

Motion Picture Magazine, 1916 review
Note the release date of the film here--1916 Mot Pic News blurb

Gifted..and dainty! Glass slide
close up of above slide

Per IMdB: "The movie company employed 150 inmates from the New Hampton honor farm reformatory, as cavalry and infantry soldiers. Lewis E. Lawes related the story in his memoir, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing" (New York: Ray Long & Richard Smith, Inc., 1932, pages 60-63)." However, according to an October 14, 1916 Motion Picture News blurb, the number was 450:

Edit of a MPNews Oct 28, 1916  image--LB and L Wolheim!

 Also, we are told in Motion Picture News of Sept 23, 1916, that 
And that's all for 1916! He is getting very, very popular... and then he will decide next year to go back on Broadway with brother John.

The Criminal's Thumb, with Wright Huntington. Released July 22, 2016. A Gaumont Company dramatic short (3 reels) directed by Edwin Middleton. It starred Alexander Gaden, Lucile Taft, and John Reinhardt. Check out this intriguing bit from Motion Picture News of June 1916:

The co-writer had that kind thumb?!


THE END OF THE TOUR: Byron "Buddy" Bennett Released January 29. 1917. Directed by George D. Baker. A five reel tragicomedy (so to speak), unfortunately lost which suffers bad Wiki editing on its page--the main character is BYRON (Buddy) Bennett. I have seen some lovely images for this film, and it's amazing the versatility of the man playing Byron.  Moving Picture World had this synopsis (with cast additions in bold by me):

Col. Jessup (Frank Currier) of Mayville does not waste any affection on his young wife, who finally runs away with a theatrical company, taking her son with her, but leaving her baby daughter. Later, she dies, and the boy, known as Byron Bennett (Lionel Barrymore), is leading man for a theatrical company playing one night stands. The season, however, has been disastrous, and the company is about to disband, when they receive word that the house is sold out for the performance at Mayville; so they hang on. However, the manager collects the receipts for the performance, and takes the first train, leaving the company stranded. Byron, who is known as Buddy, secures a position as Instructor for the Jessup Volunteer Hose Company which is to give an amateur theatrical performance. He persuades Grace Jessup's father to allow her to take the leading part in order to out-do Hose Company No. 1, which also plans a performance. Grace (Buddy's sister, played by Ethel Corcoran as Ethel Dayton) becomes interested in Percy Pennington (J. Herbert Frank), a traveling salesman. He tries to persuade her to elope, but she refuses until he makes a definite promise of marriage. He boasts, however, to Buddy and his friend, Skinny (Walter Hiers), and intimates that the promise will not be carried out. Soon after, he starts out riding with Grace. Buddy is suspicious and follows on a bicycle, but is outdistanced. At last, however, he sees the horse tied by the roadside, and hears Grace scream. Rushing to her assistance he overcomes Percy, and carries Grace home, in a fainting condition. Col. Jessup, thinking Bud is the culprit, fires at him twice. One bullet lodges in the shoulder, while the other is stopped by Buddy's watch in which he carries a picture of his mother. Grace regains consciousness and explains matters; and Jessup is amazed to find the picture in the watch is that of his wife. The doctor advises that Buddy will recover, and there is a reconciliation between father, son and daughter. 

A rather action-packed but somewhat tragic story! Here are a variety of images:

Lobby cards--more below

Slightly cleaner version of the still above

A few comments/ads for the film:

Mr. B was in good company upon the opening of the film in 1917!
Moving Pic World of Feb 3, 1917 saith:
Friend Louis Wolheim has a small part in the film as well!
MPWorld of Feb 17, 1917
MPNews, Feb 17, 1917 "The girl he loved was his sister, so it didn't end int he usual way"!
"Lionel Barrymore acts the hero"--love it. MPWorld Feb 17, 1917

HIS FATHER'S SON: J. Dabney Barron Released March 19, 1917. Directed by George D. Baker for Rolfe. Irene Howler and Frank Currier are also in the film. As far as I can tell, (LOC) there is a surviving print in France at the Archives Du Film Du CNC (Bois d'Arcy) [Frb].
     Here speaketh Moving Picture World (exhaustive summary): J. Dabney Barron, a college youth, regularly fails in his examinations. His father, in disgust, deprives him of money, and tells him to go to work, betting him $6,000 that he cannot hold a $60 a month position for that period of time. J. Dabney takes him up, and, with Perkins, his valet, goes to look for a job. In a park he meets Betty Arden, an heiress, whose car has broken down. Her guest, Lord Lawrence, is incapable of helping her. Dabney hastens to her assistance. She hurries away as soon as her car is repaired. Installing himself and his valet in a room in a lodging house, Dabney reads the want ads. Answering an advertisement for a bookkeeper, he stands in a long line of applicants until he grows tired. His valet, who has taken his place, gets the job. Finally Dabney obtains work through his friend Jim Foley of a detective agency. John Arden, millionaire gem collector, has a priceless emerald called "The Lady of the Sea." He fears it may be stolen and as a matter of fact his guest Lord Lawrence, better known to the English police as "London Larry," is planning to steal the emerald. Foley tells Dabney that to guard the emerald he must pose as butler in the Arden home. No sooner does Dabney enter upon his new work than he discovers Betty Arden, his employer's daughter, to be the girl he helped in the park. In an attempt to retain his dignity in her eyes he tells her he and his sister inherited an enormous fortune from an uncle; that the uncle had a secretary a villainous chap named Slime who forced him to make a will disinheriting Dabney and his sister; that Slime and his accomplices made the old man drink nitroglycerin but unfortunately for them permitted him to fall down when he exploded burning up the will; that the villainous secretary had then overpowered Dabney and run away with the girl, whom Dabney had ever since been seeking, hence his presence in the Arden household as butler. Betty pretends to believe the story, although she has been aware of Dabney's identity all along. Dabney continues to attend to his duties as butler and to guard the jewel from "London Larry." Finally the month is up, and Dabney, in great glee at having won the bet from his father, dares to make known his love to Betty. She returns his affection, and they are discovered in a fond embrace by John Arden, who instantly discharges Dabney. That night he is about to take his departure when he surprises "London Larry" opening the safe in Arden's library. He overpowers the would-be jewel thief, and throws him into the safe. Arden, coming downstairs, liberates Lord Lawrence, who tells him Dabney is the real culprit, and together they overpower him and tie him to a chair. Dabney urges them to send for Foley, to identify him, and the detective, arriving, makes haste to free Dabney and arrest "London Larry." Dabney, cheered by Betty's promise to marry him, goes home to collect his $6,000, having proved himself his father's son.
     Needless, to say, part of the interest is the much older (almost 40) Mr. B playing a college youth. He does look fairly young in many of the pics I've seen of him in this.

Very bad pic if that is indeed Mr. B there...
Rarely did people comment on Mr. B's comedy chops.

And some reviews:

I don't really think of Mr. B as buoyant, but...
"Barry"! His father went by that nickname.
A friend's young daughter colored this for me after I made a coloring page out of the poster!

THE MILLIONAIRE'S DOUBLE: Bide Bennington Released April 30, 1917. Directed by Harry Davenport, with Evelyn Brent, Harry Northrup, and down on the cast list, Louis Wolheim. Allmovie has this synopsis: After his wife has run off with another man, New Yorker Bide Bennington (Lionel Barrymore) decides to stay in Europe. After hearing of his wife's death years later, he returns home but finds it lonely there and heads West. While he is gone his house is robbed, and the leader of the crooks, Richard Glendon (Harry S. Northrup), leaves Bennington's coat and identification on an East River pier. The newspapers pick up on this and announce Bennington's "suicide." Since he is now officially deceased, Bennington decides to start life all over again -- but first he must foil a scheme by a gang of con artists, who have forced pretty Constance Brent (Evelyn Brent) to pose as Bennington's widow so that they can lay claim to his estate. After routing the crooks, Bennington falls in love with the phony widow -- who turns out to be a "nice kid" withal -- and with his marriage to the girl he returns triumphantly to the Land of the Living. Apparently a lost film.

Glass slide for the film

And some reviews!

Motography review
Moving Picture World Review

San Bernardino Sun, May 22, 1917

NATIONAL RED CROSS PAGEANT: Himself* Released December 2 or 3 (prob), 1917. Directed by Christy Cabanne from a October 1917 spectacle and starring pretty much everyone: John, Lionel, Ethel, Tyrone POwer, Sr, Hazel Dawwn, Blanche Yurka, Ina Claire, etc, etc. Mr. B did not likely play himself, but one of the roles in one of the scenarios over Cabanne's five reels of activity. But it originally was a huge spectacle sometimes called the Rosemary Red Cross Pageant, a staging done by Charles Frohman, Thomas Wood Stevens, and B. Iden Payne in October 1917 in Lloyd Harbor, Long Island, NY. Here is one of the staging areas:

The Vogue magazine of November 15, 1917 (NATIONAL SAM DAY!) wrote, "In the open-air theatre at “Rosemary Farm,” the Long Island estate of Mr. Roland R. Conklin was given, early in October, a most gorgeous pageant, which proved to be, at the same time, one of the most successful of war benefits. This pageant, which consisted of episodes from the history of each of the Allied nations, and the presentation of the case of each Ally before the bar of Truth, Justice, and Liberty, was organized by actors and actresses of the American stage as their contribution to the American Red Cross. It had been long in preparation, and many noted men and women had given generously of their time and effort, --an effort which found its reward, for this single performance brought a net profit of fifty thousand dollars, and the motion picture films which will carry the pageant all over the country will afford an additional income to the Red Cross for some time to come.

The book of the pageant was written by Joseph Lindon Smith, of Boston, and Thomas Wood Stevens, director of dramatic arts at Carnegie Institute and President of the Pageantry Association of America, and the rehearsals were under the personal direction of Mr. Stevens, Daniel Frohman, and B. Iden Payne, while decorators and artists collaborated in the settings and costuming. The result was a pageant of rare beauty and dramatic worth, as well as of historic accuracy and patriotic inspiration.

Of the two parts which composed this pageant, the first was given over to historic episodes in the lives of the Allied nations and presented a glowing and sumptuous picture. The prologue, spoken by Edith Wynne Matthison, dedicated an altar to Peace and was followed by rhythmic dancing by Florence Fleming Noyes and her pupils. A scene from early Flemish days followed, and four famous cities, Bruges, Ghent, Ypres, and Louvain paid their allegiance to Flanders, personated by Ethel Barrymore in the gorgeous costume familiar in Flemish painting.

The Italian scene which followed was succeeded by the scene of the birth of English liberty, as represented by King John signing the Magna Charta, and Medieval Russia was personified by John Barrymore as a tyrant borne upon the shoulders of his serfs. Most dramatic of the events of this first part, however, was the French episode, in which Ina Claire appeared as Jeanne D’Arc riding her white charger and the whole audience sprang to its feet in silent tribute to France.

In the second half of the pageant, called “The Drawing of the Sword,” each nation among the Allies appeared to present its case before the court of Truth, Justice, and Liberty. Serbia entered first and told her story of the opening of the war, to which Truth spoke assent. Belgium followed, and to her aid came England and France, while Russia came to the support of her ally, Serbia. Next, England called upon her overseas colonies, and Japan also, brought her pledge to maintain the cause of liberty on the Pacific. Armenia came to tell her wrongs; and Italy, shaking off the bonds of the Triple Alliance, cast her lot with the defenders of liberty. The grand climax was reached with the entry of America in the person of Marjorie Rambeau."

John Barrymore is center right, being carried in (October 5, 1917 staging)

This and the next image are one review, Motion Picture World Dec 1917

I am still seeking a picture of Lionel Barrymore in this, but there you have it! All his 1917 films! One day before National Sam Day and the anniversary of Mr. B's death.

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