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The Captain's Captain (1918)

The Captain's Captain (1918) Vitagraph Co. of America. A Blue Ribbon Feature. Distributor: Greater Vitagraph. Presenter: Albert E. Smith. Director: Tom Terriss. Scenario: Tom Terriss and A. Van Buren Powell. Camera: Joe Shelderfer. Cast: Alice Joyce, Arthur Donaldson, Percy Standing, Julia Swayne Gordon, Eulalie Jensen, Maurice Costello. 5 reels This film appears to beLOST

Still from the film (Thanks to Derek Boothroyd )

Review from Variety
Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror
Reviews from Moving Picture World
Read the Short Story Adaptation from Photoplay Magazine, with pictures from the film.

Review from Variety, January 3, 1919

Louise Greyling Alice Joyce
Cap'n Abe Arthur Donaldson
Cap'n Joab Percy Standing
Aunt Euphemia Julia Swayne Gordon
Betty Gallup Eulalie Jensen
Lawford Tapp Maurice Costello

In spots this Vitagraph feature hits the mark, but it will not startle the film world. The story adapted from the novel, "Cap'n Abe--Storekeeper," accredited to James A. Cooper, is not half as interesting as the fine all-around acting of Alice Joyce and Maurice Costello. So far as Tom Terriss was concerned, he did as well as he could under the circumstances in directing the picture. The scenes picked out for "Captain's Captain" were not a treat for the eye, because most of the action took place behind closed doors, whereas a fine villa and those ripping ocean swells were tossed in once in a while for an appetizer.

Costello gets scant attention. The frivolous doings keep him in the background. Miss Joyce helps to pep up for the thing, and saves many a situation. She is the whole works.

It tells the story of an old fraud of a henpecked storekeeper in a fisher village named Captain Abe. He is a trick captain, never having sailed the seas; in fact, he faints every time he sees salt water. Not able to impress the villages because he hasn't personality, he foists on them a tale that he has a brother, by the name of Am'zon, a priate [sic], who is the terror of the seven seas. He tells so many lies it finally gets on the nerves of his friends. Louise Greyling, a niece, who has run away from a straight-laced aunt in the city to seek refuge with Uncle Abe, hears of these tales.

Her discernment further tells her that these yarns are fabrications, and, when she confronts him with the deceptions, he is forced to admit them. Straightaway she digs up the bright idea of having Am'zon put in an appearance.

Am'zon being a myth, it is, of course, up to the old gent, and he is obliged to disappear and return as Am'zon. And the ruse works well. She has a lot of fun making the weakling storekeeper live up to his role, until some shipwrecked East Indians land, hear the story of the pirate, and convince themselves that here is the man who some years before, bent on a piratical expedition, desecrated their temple. They vow that he must die.

From thence on Louise's task is a much serious one than she bargained for. She must extricate Uncle Abe from the dilemna [sic]. And she does, but not without the aid of a newcomer, whom Fate sends to her at that crucial time.

Tapp, a millionaire's son, who spends all his time fishing, takes Louise on two trips on the water. They fall in love and all that, and he overcomes the old man's objection, but just as things get interesting the picture comes to a close.

Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror, January 4, 1918

"The Captain's Captain"


Box Office Value Great

Exhibitor Comments: "Joyce made a big hit." "Local coloring excellent and big drawing card."


Entertainment Good
Story Good
Acting Good
Photography Good
Technical Handling Good
Settings Good
Quality Good

Louise runs away from her straight-laced old aunt to live with Uncle Abe in a fishing village. There she discovers that Capt. Abe has been deceiving the natives with stories of a fictitious brother, Anizon--a pirate. As their interest in Anizon is waning, Louise tells Abe to have Anizon appear in the flesh and so confront them. Abe disguises himself as a pirate and appears. Then complications set in which almost cause the ruin of Louise and Abe, but a man enters the scene who sets things right and the end Louise finds herself engaged to him and Uncle Abe happily extricated from an unpleasant position.

Reviews from Moving Picture World

December 14, 1918

Vitagraph Presents Alice Joyce in a Refreshingly New Idea in Which a Society Girl Narrowly Escapes a Charge of Murdering Her Uncle.

Louise Grayling Alice Joyce
Cap'n Abe Arthur Donaldson
Cap'n Joab Percy Standing
Aunt Euphemia Julia Swayne Gordon
Betty Gallup Eulalie Jensen
Lawford Tapp Maurice Costello

Directed by Tom Terriss.

The Story: Louise Grayling escapes from a straight-laced aunt on a plea that she wants to visit her uncle, Captain Abe, on Cape Cod. Abe is henpecked by his housekeeper and rather looked down upon by the villagers who haunt his store. To give himself a fictitious glory he invents a fictitious brother, Amzon, who is a composite of all the pirates from Blackbeard to the food profiteers. Louise penetrates the deception and induced Abe to go away and come back as the fictitious brother. She has the time of her life keeping the placid Abe up to the reputation of his fire-eating brother, but all would have gone well had not some shipwrecked East Indians imagined that they recogized him as the desecrator of their Temple. Between them and the town people, who get the idea that Abe has been murdered by Amzon, Louise has her hands full, but Abe is transformed into his proper self, and a supposed fisherman who turns out to be a young millionaire rescues her from the mob and all ends happily after all.

Feature: Alice Joyce as Louise Grayling and Percy Standing as Cap'n Joab.

Program and Advertising Phrases: Alice Joyce Popular Star in Stirring Blue Ribbon Vitagraph Picture Drama.
Girl Wins Young Millionaire's Love by Making Him Go to Work.
Cape Codder Who Posed as Pirate Makes Good--for a Minute.
True Love and Near Tragedy in Cape Cod Romance.
Society Girl Accused of Murder When Her Uncle Becomes a Pirate.

Advertising Angles: Announce Miss Joyce and tell that she appears in a visualization of "Cap'n Abe--Storekeeper. " by James A. Cooper. Tell that she has seldom had so good a role, and play up the predicaments in which she finds herself. Make an extra effort to get them in for this.

Advertising Aids: One design each one, three and six-sheets. Window cards. Lobby display, 11x14 and 22x28. Heralds. Slides. Plan book. Press sheet.
Released December 23

January 4, 1919

Alice Joyce in Vitagraph Production of Fantastic Story That is Amusing at Times .
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel.

WHEN a novel has been written with a quaint old chap named "Cap'n Abe" as its principal character, it is difficult to turn the story into a moving picture and arrange matters so that stellar honors go to an attractive young woman, even after changing the title. "The Captain's Captain" is taken from a novel by James A. Cooper, and Alice Joyce is the featured player. Produced as a Vitagraph Blue Ribbon Feature and directed by Tom Terriss, the picture reveals a fantastic plot that can never be considered seriously.

It has considerable humor of an obvious kind, however, and the acting and production get the best out of the situations, except the ones where the shipwrecked East Indians are introduced. All attempts to make these scenes impressive are defeated by the improbability of the material, and it would have been better to treat the incident frankly as burlesque.

The plot revolves around Cap'n Abe, a storekeeper in a New England coast town, who is looked down upon by his neighbors because he has never sailed the ocean. He is always telling about his brother, Am'zon, who is a regular salt water cutthroat. Louise Greyling, Abe's niece from the city, comes to visit him, and learns the brother is a myth and that the Cap'n gets his tales of him from a scrapbook containing stories and a picture of a real pirate chief.

Abe is made to pretend to go away and return as Am'zon, his disguises being copied from the picture of the buccaneer. The pirate's reputation induces his brother's customers to settle up their old bill and pay cash for additional purchases. The arrival of the East Indians forces Abe to assume his own character. The brown men claim the pirate desecrated their temple, and try to kill Abe. There is a slight love motive for Louise and a wealthy young fellow whom she mistakes for a fisherman.

Alice Joyce does the little that falls to her share gracefully and intelligently. She is capably supported by Arthur Donaldson as Cap'n Abe, Percy Standing as Cap'n Joab, Julia Swayne Gordon as Aunt Euphemia, Eulalie Jensen as Betty Gallup and Maurice Costello as Lawford Tapp. The scenes along the coast are realistic.

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Last revised January 1, 2015