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



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