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The School for Scandal (1914)

The School for Scandal (1914) Kalem Co. Distributor: General Film. Co., Masterpiece Service. Director: Kenean Buel. Scenario: Phil Lang. Cast: Alice Joyce, Guy Coombs, James B. Ross, Jere Austin, Mary Ross, Irene Boyle, James Cooper, William Burgess, Joseph Cordova, Henry Grant, Richard Purdon, Augusta Burgermeister. 4 reels. This film appears to beLOST

This was Alice Joyce's second four-reel film, and her last for nearly two years.

Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror
Review from Moving Picture World

Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror, December 9, 1914


Four-Part Kalem Adaptation of the Play by Richard B. Sheridan, made by Philip Lang. Directed by Kenean Buel for Release Dec. 21. Through the General Film Masterpiece Service

Lady Teazle Alice Joyce
Sir Peter Teazle James B. Ross
Charles Surface Guy Coombs
Joseph Surface Jere Austin
Lady Sneerwell Mary Ross
Maria Irene Boyle
Sir Oliver Surface James Cooper
Rowley William Burgess

"The School for Scandal" under the pen of an adapter loses much of its satire when transferred to the picture screen, leaving it a very acceptable drama of four-reel length. The shafts of Sheridan's wit were directed at the custom of an entire social circle to meet in drawing rooms and to magnify and distort the commonest occurrences into slander about the various people of their set and about anybody else concerning whom they could rake up a possible bit of gossip. Placed on the screen the benefits of this witty dialogue are lost, though the play became real serious drama, entirely entertaining.

The Kalem Company deserves praise for a sincere effort to stage the atmosphere of old England. The wigged and satin clothed figures, with manners that suggest their characters, were a realistic reproduction of a group of people that might have lived in those times. To give them life once more Kalem has thrown its best actors into the gap. The names of Alice Joyce, Guy Coombs, Irene Boyle, Jere Austin and others need no identification either in print or in their parts. To one who knows them in other productions they will not fail to make themselves recognized in these roles that have been the delight of the best actors and actresses that the theatrical profession has had in the last hundred years.

The play has been extant more than that length of time and every now and then some one else essays to do it a little better, or perhaps with a little different meaning, than has been done before. The artillery of a big name has been sufficient to cover an almost infinite number of petty charges covering ground that the initial victorious assault had gained.


Review from Moving Picture World, December 19,1914

"The School for Scandal"
Point and Spice of Sheridan's Famous comedy Still Plain in Kalem Four-Reel Picture--A High-Class Offering.
Reviewed by Hanford C. Judson.

IT MAY not be so flourishing as in the days when that wonderful wag, Dick Sheridan, wrote his satirical comedy; but the real and actual school for scandal is still open. As long as tongues tattle, Sheridan's "School for Scandal" is not likely to die. The Kalem Company has picturized it in four reels and has achieved an astonishing success. The screen version has been prepared by Phil Lang, who has introduced a most pleasing and successful novelty. The pleasing effect that the offering makes does not wholly depend on this, but it surely is a tremendous addition to it.

This novelty was absolutely impossible in the stage version and is much more vivid than what the spoken play gave in its place. Of course, as Mr. Lang knows, a picture is usually made of the action between the stage acts, the offstage things explained in the dialogue; but here he has found a unique chance and has made a good thing of it. In the talk in Lady Sneerwell's parlor, the scandal college, certain things are told. In the picture we first see just what happened and then see what is told. This rises to a height when Sir Peter Teazle hears the tale of what happened when his wife was behind the curtain in the house of Joseph Surface. He says, "Oh, no, you have got it all wrong," and tells a whopper even worse. We have seen what really too place, of course, and Sir Peter's wild story (vividly pictured) takes the breath away from Lady Sneerwell, and we might add, from us. It is, indeed, remarkable how much of the humor and the cutting point of the comedy has been kept in the picture. The story is clearly told, too. The rich brocade costumes, the Georgian furniture, the acting and general staging are all good. It makes an astonishingly entertaining offering.

Lady Teazle is played by Alice Joyce and she is at her prettiest and makes a vivacious and very acceptable Lady Teazle. James B. Ross is just as pleasing as Sir Peter--there's fun in the old man. Guy Coombs is a justly balanced gallant as Charles Surface; there is the right refinement and atmosphere in his work. In fact, in this polite comedy, refinement even in the worst characters is absolutely necessary and in this respect as in most others the director, Keanan [sic] Buel is all that could be wanted. Lady Sneerwell is played by Mary Ross; Joseph Surface by Jere Austin; Snake by Joseph Cordova; Sir Oliver Surface by James Cooper; Moses by Henry Grant; Maria, the heiress, very pleasingly by Irene Boyle; Mrs. Candour by Agusta Burgermeister, and Crabtree by Richard Purdon. [Omitted, one photo]

Review from Moving Picture World, December 12, 1914

"THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL" (Kalem--Four Parts).--On the eve of his departure for India, Sir Oliver entrusts his nephews, Charles and Joseph Surface, to the care of his friend, Sir Peter Teazle. Twenty-five years later find Charles as wild character and a thorn in Sir Peter's side. Joseph, a smug hypocrite, is a favorite with the elderly bachelor. Sir Peter is captivated by Ann, a country squire's daughter, whom he meets by accident. Although many hears his junior, the girl becomes his wife. Shortly afterwards, Sir Peter becomes the guardian of Maria, with whom Charles is deeply in love. Sir Peter frowns upon the young man's suit. Learning that Maria is immensely wealthy, Joseph resolves to marry her. Lady Sneeerwell, in love with Charles, successfully conspires with Joseph and her secretary, Snake, to separate the sweethearts.

Meanwhile, Lady Teazle leads Sir Peter a merry life. Sir Benjamin Backbite, a notorious gossip, chances to visit the Teazles while Sir Peter is remonstrating with his wife because of her extravagance. After listening to the war of words, Sir Benjamin departs for Lady Sneerwell's home, where he finds the members of the School for Scandal engaged in tearing the reputations of their friends to tatters. The most harmless incidents are twisted and distorted. As told by Sir Benjamin, the quarrel between Sir Peter and Lady Teazle wound up in blows. Sir Oliver, returning from abroad, determines to study the characters of his nephews. He informs Sir Peter of his intention of meeting each under an assumed identity. To Charles, Sir Oliver appears as Premium, a money lender. The result of the interview between nephew and uncle finds the latter delighted with Charles.

Despite Sir Peter's friendship for him, Joseph makes desperate love to Lady Teazle. Due to the efforts of Joseph, Snake, and Lady Sneerwell, Sir Peter is led to believe that Charles and Lady Teazle love each other. Sir Oliver, visiting Joseph in the guise of a poor relation, finds the young man an ungrateful cur. In the meantime Lady Teazle is induced by Joseph to call upon him at his apartments. It happens that Sir Peter, having drawn up a will leaving all his property to Lady Teazle, calls upon Joseph to ask his advice. Unable to leave without detection. Lady Teazle hides behind a screen.

She thus hears of what her husband has done to provide for her comfort after his death. Sir Peter's words touch Lady Teazle's heart, filling her with remorse. The husband discovers that someone is concealed behind the screen. He is about to investigate, when Joseph hurriedly declares that it is a French milliner. Charles is announced. Not wishing to meet him, Sir Peter discovers that his suspicions concerning Lady Teazle and Charles are unfounded. Lady Teazle, on the other hand, learns of Joseph's hypocrisy.

Charles discovers Sir Peter in the closet just as Joseph learns that Lady Sneerwell is calling. While the hypocrite endeavors to warn her away, Charles and Sir Peter determine to have a look at the milliner. The resultant discovery astounds Sir Peter. Lady Teazle, thrusting aside Joseph's lying excuses with contempt, confesses the flirtation she has carried on with him. Lady Sneerwell gets and inkling of what has taken place. At once the wildest rumors are circulated by the members of the School for Scandal. These have it that both Sir Peter and Joseph had been shot, stabbed or horse-whipped The gossip-mongers who hasten to Sir Peter's house to offer condolences, are astounded to find him alive and well.

Joseph, arriving at Sir Peter's home in an effort to seek forgiveness, learns the real identity of the "poor relation" who had visited him. With the news that he has been disinherited comes a second blow when he hears that Sir Peter has consented to the marriage of Charles and Maria. As a last card, Joseph brings Lady Sneerwell to the scene. The woman declares that Charles has promised to make her his wife. Snake, however, turns traitor and confesses the plot to discredit Charles. Lady Teazle, giving Joseph and Lady Sneerwell a bitter rebuke, dismisses them. Realizing the many discomforts she has cause her husband, Lady Teazle promises to henceforth be a dutiful wife.

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Last revised August 27, 2005