Archive for February 12, 2023

The Sunday Intertitle: Kenyon Passage

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2023 by dcairns

You wait ages for a Doris Kenyon film, and then two turn up at once. Our little online film club (which is free to join, all welcome) ran a William Wyler double bill of DODSWORTH and COUNSELLOR AT LAW, which was also an Elmer Rice double bill — I don’t know why Wyler didn’t keep him around as a screenwriter, except maybe he didn’t have many stories in him — both these movies have high-powered professional men in thrall to awful wives (even if DODSWORTH stems from a Sinclair Lewis novel). Doris Kenyon is the awful wife to John Barrymore in COUNSELLOR AT LAW.

I’d decided to seek out more Maurice Tourneur for this week’s intertitle, since I plan on running his later CECILE EST MORT!, the middle film in Continental’s Maigret trilogy, and I thought that’d be a decent link-up. And here’s Doris again, in A GIRL’S FOLLY (the story of her life, it would seem) from way back in 1917. And she’s joined by Robert Warwick, who I’d enjoyed in ALIAS JIMMY VALENTINE as well as his later Preston Sturges films. Further down the cast is an early appearance by Leatrice Joy.

This one might spread out over a few weekends’ blogging. Though it appears incomplete: the above intertitle is bracketed by two shots of youug Doris, and her touted mother does not show up until later. Possibly, though, it’s just a case of one or two titles coming loose and being inserted at the wrong points?

The story is a behind-the-screen tale which affords us a precious glimpse of movie-making in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Immediately we get some Tourneur experimentation, as a squabble between farmgirls is presented Ozu-fashion, the characters performing right down the barrel of the lens at one another. Saves worrying about eyelines, I find.

Lots of atmospheric print damage in our surviving copy, but it clears up a bit later. Our heroine fantasises about a translucent troubadour:

I think this is going to be fun! The shots of the studio at work are to die for. Robert Warwick is clearly going to try his hand at comedy, self-spoofing his own matinee idol persona.

We get to see a set assembled in seconds out of flying flats, the revolving stage (to follow the sunlight). I do believe I’ve seen at least part of this before, and probably blogged about it, but now I’m going to do it properly and hopefully not forget all about it afterwards, as I clearly did last time, if there was a last time.

Another familiar face: Johnny Hines, who was also in JIMMY V.

All very exciting and there’s not even a story yet! More soon.