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The Short Films of Alice Joyce, 1915 : Reviews

Cast Up By The Sea
The Leech
The Swindler
(with viewing comments)
Her Supreme Sacrifice
The White Goddess
(with viewing comments and link to story)
Unfaithful to his Trust
The Girl of the Music Hall
The Face of the Madonna

Cast Up By The Sea

2 reels. Produced by Kenean Buel. Writer: Joseph Poland. AJ as Ruth Adams, with Guy Coombs, Jere Austin, Benjamin Ross

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, December 23, 1914


Two-Part Kalem Drama Written by Joseph Poland and Directed by Kenean Buel. Released Jan. 4.

Ruth, an heiress Alice Joyce
Her Father Ben. Ross
A Fortune Hunter Jere Austin
A Professional Gambler Guy Coombs

"Studio" efficiency is visible in the parts of the picture which were produced on the ocean vessel, for we take it that no time was wasted on the voyage to Florida, on which journey this scenario was partly staged and that it was finished on the Coast lands of Florida, which do very nicely as substitute for deserted islands where castaways are usually found. The play is rather easy to stage, and this fact has at times led to a little carelessness in its presentation.

The girl marries the fortune hunting count, as her father has a decided objection to the professional gambler, who seems to be the better man for all of that. The latter, for no very definite reason, follows the couple on their honeymoon, this being on a big ocean steamer once more. Their destination must have been a long ways off, for they are cast upon, what from similar stories we should judge to be a South Sea island. There the gambler proves his superiority. Quite a few scenes are devoted to the elementary fashion of living that is necessitated. Then the gambler builds a raft and is about to go away with the woman, who seems willing enough, but her bundle opens and discloses what an attentive audience may guess to be baby clothes in the making, and he renounces his position on the very frail raft, which took six months to make, and while she and her husband are saved, the other man dies on the sands. The best bit in the film is where a satchel came floating ashore, and she thanked God for thread and needle. The scenario and its staging is hardly up to the Kalem standard.


Review from Moving Picture World, January 2, 1915

CAST UP BY THE SEA(Special--Two Parts--Jan. 4)--Meeting Ruth Adams, daughter of a millionaire, on an ocean liner, Lockwood, a professional gambler, falls in love with her. He finds a rival in Count Dupont, a fortune hunter. The latter informs Ruth and her father as to Lockwood's profession. When the gambler calls upon Ruth at her home, he is requested to leave. Ruth and Dupont are married. A few days after the wedding, the girl's father is ruined. Lockwood chances to see Dupont when the news is broken to the nobleman. The man's attitude causes the gambler to fear for Ruth's safety. When the Duponts sail for abroad, Lockwood follows.

A collision sends the liner to the bottom. Ruth, her husband and the gambler being the sole survivors. The three are washed ashore on an island. In the months which follow, Ruth comes to find Lockwood gentle and courageous. Dupont, on the other hand, is a monument of selfishness. Lockwood constructs a raft just big enough to carry two. Weary of her husband's brutality, Ruth consents to leave the island with the gambler. Dupont, attempting to board the raft, is knocked unconscious.

As Lockwood paddles out to sea, a bundle falls from Ruth's hands and opens. A tiny garment made by Ruth during her stay on the island informs the gambler that it is Dupont who should have the chance of being rescued with Ruth. The man paddles back to shore. The realization of his own unworthiness is forced upon Dupont for the first time, when he learns Lockwood's reason for returning. He vows to turn over a new leaf. Heartbroken, the gambler watches the tiny craft until it disappears from view.

The Leech

2 reels. Directed by Kenean Buel. Writer: Hamilton Smith. AJ as Grace, with Guy Coombs, Robert Walker, Mary Ross, Delores Decker. A copy of this film is available at the National Film and Television Archive, London.

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, January 6, 1915


Kalem. Two-Part Drama Produced by Kenean Buel. Author, Hamilton Smith. Released Jan. 18.

Grace, Salvation lassie Alice Joyce
Carl Linden, a parasite, her husband Guy Coombs
Mrs. Tully, newly rich and social climber Mary Ross
George, her son Robert Walker
Helen, her daughter Delores Decker

A certain type of family drama may be said to be fore ordained. There is the situation of the daughter engaged to a bogus "Count," the son in love with a Salvation lassie, and a dramatic scene where the latter discovers the bogus person to be the husband who deserted her shortly after marriage. And it is fair enough to reveal the secret now, for the author anticipated it by causing the lassie to vision why it was necessary for her to refuse to marry the son of the socially ambitious woman. Of course, the problem then is to rid the plot of the deep-dyed one, which is effectively accomplished.

Guy Coombs contributes, perhaps, the most effective bit of film work, Robert Walker is prepossessingly convincing, as are the two women, Mary Ross and Delores Decker. This and the settings quite above reproach, contribute their quota to a play sufficiently powerful for screen purposes.

Having cleverly inveigled himself into the good graces of the mother and been accepted as the betrothed of the daughter, he is confronted by his wife when the latter is brought to meet the mother of the man she really loves. The thoroughly bad man is caught in an attempt to steal the daughter's valuable jewelry, and killed in trying to jump to safety, thus removing the obstacle.


Review from Moving Picture World, January 16, 1915

THE LEECH(Special--Two Parts--Jan. 18)--Attracted by Mrs. Tully's efforts to break into society, Carl Lindon, a parasite, contrives to meet the woman and her family. He cleverly manages to make the socially-ambitious mother believe him a nobleman. Mrs. Tully's son, George, falls in love with Grace, a Salvation Army worker. The girl, however, refuses to marry him, and begs the boy not to press her for the reason.

Linden becomes engaged to Helen, George's sister. George induces Grace to call upon his mother. Mrs. Tully is horrified to learn of her son's love for the Salvation Army girl. Linden enters the house just at this time. Sight of him causes Grace to start forward. A moment later the girl denounces Linden, declaring that he had deserted her three months after their marriage. While Helen, heart-broken, falls into Graces; arms, Linden flees from the house.

But thought of the stakes he had played for causes the scoundrel to make one more effort to enrich himself. Knowing that Helen has placed all her valuable engagement gifts in her room, the man climbs up one of the balcony columns and enters the girl's room by way of the window.

Grace, endeavoring to console Helen, accompanies the girl to her room. They enter in time to catch Linden at work. Grace grapples with him. The sound of the struggle brings George and his mother to the scene. Linden breaks from his wife's grasp and makes a flying leap through a window. George sees the scoundrel land heavily on the ground. When the boy approaches the spot where Linden lies, he finds the man dead.

The Swindler

2 reels. Directed by Kenean Buel. Writer: Frank Howard Clark. AJ as Bess Harris, with Guy Coombs, Jere Austin, Mary Taylor Ross, George Hollister, Jr., Henry Hallam. A copy of this film is available at the Library of Congress (35 mm. and one 16 mm. reel, which seems to be complete)

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, Jan. 27, 1915


Two-Part Kalem Drama Featuring Alice Joyce. Written by Frank Howard Clark and Directed by Kenean Buel. Released Feb. 1.

Bess, a country girl Alice Joyce
Tom, a suitor for her hand Guy Coombs
Harris, the Swindler Jere Austin
Mrs. Boyden, a widow Mary Taylor Ross
Roy, her eight-year-old son George Hollister, Jr.
Miller, Bess's father Henry Hallam

The offering--as one would expect of one featuring Miss Joyce--makes a bid for heart interest, and being further suited to her, give ample opportunity of displaying costly gowns and expensive jewelry. In one stroke Miss Joyce is thus seen at her very best, supported by two most able actors, Jere Austin as her broker husband, and Guy Coombs in the role of the country rival.

The beginning of the reel, which showed the wedding of the girl to a rich young man from the city, also displayed some beautiful Spanish moss and other examples of a prodigal nature. For the most part, however, the offering confined itself to interiors, or else the poor sections in which the husband's victims lived.

The ex-country rival coming to town to bring a simple offering of fruit is awed by her rich surroundings, and, slinking away, runs into a widow, one of the husband's duped customers. The countryman goes to the broker to do what he can for the widow and recognizes the man. The wife arrives and is disillusioned. She spends some time in deciding to give up her jewelry and luxury, since she now knows the source of her husband's wealth, and takes the receiver from the telephone hook to tell of her decision. She hears a mob of angry customers, graphically handled by the directors, storming the private office, where her husband is shot in the struggle. Then the woman goes back to the country with the other man.


Review from Moving Picture World, February 6, 1915

THE SWINDLER(Two Parts--Feb., 1)--Blinded by the man's wealth, Bess married Harris. Tom, who loves her, is heartbroken. Shortly after Harris takes his wife to the city, Tom, tired of country life, follows.

Harris, an unscrupulous swindler, is conducting a get-rich-quick scheme. One of his victims is Mrs. Boyden, a widow. The man's promises cause the woman to invest every penny she possess in a "radium mine."

Bess is ignorant of her husband's business. In the meantime, Tom comes to the assistance of Roy, Mrs. Boyden's crippled son, and thus meets the lad's mother. Later, Tom learns of how the widow has been buncoed. Accompanied by Mrs. Boyden, he calls upon Harris.

Bess, dropping in to see her husband, hears the men quarreling. What she overhears causes her to see Harris as the scoundrel he is. Tom, unable to get the widow's money from the swindler, gives Mrs. Boyden his own savings. Bess returns home and divests herself of the costly attire that has been purchased with stolen money.

Harris' victims, learning how they have been swindled, descend upon the man's offices. A furious struggle takes place. At the same time, a detective enters the private office and endeavors to place Harris under arrest. A shot fired by an infuriated victim hits the swindler, killing him instantly.

Longing for the peace of the country, Bess returns to the old farm. There she finds Tom. Her former love for him reawakens and she promises to be his wife.

Viewing comments

In this two reel film, Alice Joyce has a chance to portray a more complex character, one who develops over the course of the film. She also plays a part unusual in her surviving films, that of a naive girl who is excited by city life and takes a childish delight in luxuries. She grins broadly and even acts coy. It is only later in the film, as the character is shocked into reality that she assumes her more usual sober disposition. The film is an interesting one, with a theme of contemporary relevance. The Library of Congress indicates that their copy of the film is incomplete, but it plays without any noticeable omissions.
Print viewed: 16mm reel at the Library of Congress.

Her Supreme Sacrifice

2 reels. Directed by Kenean Buel. Writer: Louis R. Gardner. AJ as Ora Eames, with Guy Coombs, James B. Ross, Mary Ross

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, February 3, 1915


Kalem Drama in Two Parts. Written by Louis R. Gardner and Directed by Kenean Buel. Released Feb. 15

Gordon Eames Guy Coombs
Ora, his wife Alice Joyce
Hale, an elderly millionaire James B. Ross
Elaine, a maid Mary Ross

The appeal of this drama, presenting Alice Joyce and Guy Coombs in the principal roles, is direct and easily appreciated. It is the tragedy of a young woman who loves her husband too well to be a hindrance. Gordon is disinherited by his father because he marries a poor girl; but he sticks to her, nevertheless, and for three years they manage very nicely in a comfortable little home. Ora has not forgotten, however, that save for her Gordon would be a wealthy man.

When her father-in-law is reported to be very ill and waiting to forgive his son, providing he returns alone, Ora thinks to make amends by divorcing him; but the divorce comes too late, for the old man dies without changing his will in favor of Gordon. Under the circumstances, to further their own happiness and the welfare of the child they both love, it would be wise for them to marry again immediately; but that would cut short the story. Instead Ora becomes a typist for a wealthy admirer who employs Gordon as secretary. This brings the two young people together, and to make matters worse, the secretary is obliged to watch his former wife being wooed by the other man. Without being in the least in love with her employer, Ora is about to marry him that her little girl may profit by his wealth; but this tragedy is averted in a quite dramatic climax that reunites the former husband and wife.


Review from Moving Picture World, February 13, 1915

HER SUPREME SACRIFICE(Special--Two Parts--Feb. 15)--Disinherited by his father because of a runaway match with Ora Miles, a typist, Gordon Ames secures a position as secretary to Hale, an elderly millionaire. Hale accidentally meets Ora. Ignorant of her identity, he falls in love with her.

A year after the birth of her baby, Ora learns that Gordon's father offers to forgive him, providing he leaves her. Realizing that her husband is breaking down as the result of overwork, Ora, on the impulse of the moment, decides to sacrifice her happiness for his sake.

Leaving home, she establishes a residence in a western state and later secures a divorce. Gordon thus freed, Ora returns East. She again meets Hale. He offers her a position, which she accepts. Too late, Ora learns that her sacrifice has been in vain--that Gordon's father died without forgiving him.

Hale proposes to Ora. Thinking of the comforts her wealth would provide for her child, who has remained in Gordon's care, Ora agrees to marry the millionaire. Elaine, the old nurse who is taking care of Ora's baby, learns of the approaching marriage. Her effort to prevent it causes the woman to take Ora's baby and place her on the veranda of the Hale mansion, on the day of the ceremony. The child, however, wanders into the street and is injured by an automobile.

Ora and Hale are about to be wed when a policeman brings the infant into the house with the request that he and the child be allowed to remain until the arrival of the ambulance. Ora, recognizing her baby, throws her arms about the child. Gordon, watching the ceremony from an adjoining room, enters and kneels by his wife's side. Ora then realizes where her happiness lies and bravely declares her intention of facing the future with Gordon.

The White Goddess

3 reels. Directed by Kenean Buel. Writer: Louis R. Gardner. AJ as Elsie Farnum, with Guy Coombs, Arthur Albertson, Helen Lindroth, and Jere Austin. A copy of reel 2 (?) this film is available the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, February 24, 1915


A Three-Part Drama of the Orient. Produced by Kalem. Under the Direction of Kenean Buel. Released March 8.

Elsie Farnim Alice Joyce
Elwin Gordon Arthur Albertson
Mrs. Nayburn Helen Lindroth
Khanda Guy Coombs
Hassa Del Jere Austin

With the exception that the first two parts are a little too much drawn out and therefore drag, this is a mighty good picture, with a strong, interesting story, a well-balanced cast, settings realistically true and some excellent photography. The latter is especially true in the part where the high priest in the temple reveals the past life of the heroine with the aid of a large crystal. Crystal gazing has enough advocates in all walks of life to establish its possibility and is a most original method of revealing to a moving picture audience the necessary details of the story which have occurred years before.

The story is gripping and the suspense well sustained. Elsie Farnim is a student in an American university under the direct charge of a matron of the college. Nothing is known of her past life, although she is lead to believe that her parents are living in India. Every year a Hindu visits the college and leaves money enough to pay her expenses. She falls in love with one of the students and they become engaged.

Hassa Del, a high priest of the temple of Larmar, gazes into his crystal and sees Elsie in the arms of her lover, Elwin. He orders Khanda, one of the lesser priests, to bring the girl to India. Khanda falls in love with Elsie and orders Elwin to depart, but Elsie secretly tells him to follow her to India. As the ship lies at anchor, after it has reached its destination, Elwin is discovered and thrown overboard, Elsie is taken to the temple, where the high priest reveals her past life by the aid of the crystal, showing how as a baby she had wandered away from her parents and crawled up on the alter of the Goddess. The superstitious priest had taken this as a sign that she was the White Goddess which the archives of his faith said would some day visit them. He sent her to America to be educated, and when the parents invaded the temple to rescue their daughter, had them burned to death.

Elsie is forced to take part in the pagan ceremonies, but the high priest orders that anyone looking on her face will be stricken blind. Khanda is caught and his sight is destroyed with red hot irons, and he is driven from the temple. Elwin, who has been rescued by fishermen, discovers the blind Khanda, who in revenge reveals Elsie's whereabouts. The natives have become disgusted with Elsie's inability to answer their prayers and are about to burn her alive when Elwin invades the temple, and shooting down all who resist, rescues his sweetheart. They escape to a steamship about to sail and are married.

The acting throughout is capable. Alice Joyce, as Elsie, doing some remarkable good work in the temple scenes.


Review from Moving Picture World, March 6, 1915

THE WHITE GODDESS (Special--Three Parts--March 8)--Mystery enshrouds Elsie Farnim's life. The girl lives with Mrs. Nayburne, a matron of Jordan University. Once each year, Khanda, a Hindu, visits Mrs. Jordan and pays Elsie's expenses. The girl is led to believe that her parents reside in India. Elsie loves Elwin Gordon. In the Temple of Larmar, the High Priest Hassa Dal gazes into a crystal glove [sic]. In it he sees a vision of Elsie promising to be Elwin's wife. As the result of the crystal's revelation, Khanda is dispatched to bring the girl to India.

Elsie is astounded when she learns that she is to return with Khanda. Elwin takes an instinctive dislike to the Hindu and places his arm protectingly about his sweetheart. Khanda interferes and Elwin is ordered from the house. As he goes, however, his sweetheart whispers a request that he follow her to India. Elwin secures passage aboard the vessel which carries his sweetheart and Khanda. As they near India, The Hindu discovers Elwin's presence. He compels Elsie to don native attire and to veil her face. As the result, Elwin fails to recognize his sweetheart when she is taken ashore. Khanda secures the aid of the men who have come to meet him. They attack Elwin and throw him overboard.

Elsie is conducted to the Temper of Larmar. There, Khanda makes an avowal of his love and declares that Elwin has deserted her. The timely arrival of Hassa Dal, the High Priest, saves Elsie just as Khanda is about to embrace her. In response to the girl's plea that she be taken to her parents, Hassa Dal orders her to gaze into his crystal globe. The High Priest's manner fills Elsie with terror. As she gazes into the globe the story is revealed to her. Elsie learns that she is the daughter of a British merchant. The latter and his wife visited the Temple of Larmar with their infant daughter. The child wandered away and climbed to the sacred altar. This was taken by the superstitious native to mean that she had been sent by their gods. When the infant's parents endeavored to rescue her, they were seized by the infuriated natives and burned alive. Believing he was acting according to instructions given him by the gods, Hassa Dal ordered Khanda to carry the child to America, where she was reared and educated. Horrified, Elsie endeavors to escape. The attempt is frustrated and she is compelled to assist in the pagan ceremonies. The worshippers regard her as a White Goddess. To keep her from being defiled by the gaze of the throng, Hassa Dal announces that whosoever looks upon Elsie's face shall have both eyes burnt out.

Khanda, unable to resist the temptation, disobeys the order. He is discovered and his sight is promptly destroyed. Thrown out of the temple the man becomes a beggar. As the days pass, the worshippers find that the White Goddess does not answer their prayers. Enraged, they determine to kill her. In the meantime, Elwin, rescued by fishermen, has vainly searched for Elsie. The young man comes upon a beggar and recognizes Khanda. Desiring vengeance, Khanda reveals Elsie's whereabouts. Followed by the beggar, Elwin rushes to the Temple. He comes just as the natives are about to burn his sweetheart to death. Elwin shoots the leaders of the mob, terrifying the rest. Hassa Dal, fearing to cross his people, cowers behind the altar. Khanda gropes his way to the spot and throttles the High priest, unseen by the worshippers. Hastening from the place, Elsie and Elwin make their way to the docks and board an outgoing vessel. The two are married on their way to America.

Review from Variety, March 19, 1915


"The White Goddess" is a three-reeler with a Hindu story. A baby girl is lost in a temple. She is of American heritage. After several years the child goes to America, grows to young womanhood, and is brought back to Hinduland when told her parents want to see her. Her lover follows, fearing something will befall her. She is worshipped as a Goddess when arriving. The Hindus, after some time, start an uprising. The girl is rescued just in time by her lover. They return to America and are married. The palace scenes are exceptionally heavy and the interiors well arranged. The picture has a production that would fit a feature of greater length.

Viewing comments

This 350 foot (16mm) fragment seems to be all that is left of The White Goddess. Presumably the second of the original 3 reels, it begins abruptly with the Joyce character remembering past incidents with her boyfriend and a sinister man in a turban (and light blackface). It ends abruptly as she is brought to a temple. Titles are few, and, being dropped into the middle of the story, it is not clear why she is willing to accompany the man with the turban, as she obviously fears him. But the story is otherwise easy to follow. Too bad there is so little left of the film because what is there is rather interesting.
Print viewed: 16mm reel at the Museum of Modern Art in New York..

See also the short story adaptation from Photoplay Magazine, April 1915

Unfaithful to his Trust

2 reels. Directed and written by Kenean Buel. AJ as Eugenia Burbank, with Guy Coombs, James B. Ross and Jere Austin.

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, March 3, 1915


Two-Reel Kalem Drama. Directed by Kenean Buel. Released March 15.

Eugenia, banker's daughter Alice Joyce
Floyd, prosecuting attorney Guy Coombs

The difficult predicament in which a district attorney is placed through having to prosecute the girl's father is the subject, not by any means new, devised to give Alice Joyce a suitable vehicle.

Business laxness allows the cashier to "O.K." some securities which the president should have examined. The bank fails, and with it the young attorney loses all his savings. He is engaged to the daughter of the bank president but is forced to prosecute. A verdict of guilty is followed by the attorney's pleas, which allows the president to go free. The latter and his daughter retire to their hunting lodge.

The attorney breaks down from overwork and his doctor orders him away for a rest, the place recommended being the identical lodge. The girl, when she hears that he is coming, rebels, for she has vowed that she will never see him again. However, because her father can use the money, she agrees to have him as a boarder, but arranges not to have him know that either she or her father are in the same house. Of course trifles that he finds puzzle him, when one day the girl, pretty well covered up, volunteers as his companion for the hunt. We are now confronted with the predicament of having a man hunting with a woman whose face he does not look at, for it is not until she accidentally shoots him that she is forced to reveal her identity. Of course, all is forgiven. Spanish moss, the bayou scenery and general Southern atmosphere is a pleasing feature of the film.


Review from Moving Picture World, March 13, 1915

UNFAITHFUL TO THE TRUST(A Two-Act Feature of the Alice Joyce Series--March 15).-- Unfaithful to his trust, Jones, cashier of the Baldwin Bank, defrauds the institution of a large sum of money. When the crash comes, Joynes makes it appear that Burbank, the elderly president, had known the condition of affairs. The two men are indicted and placed on trial. Eugenia, Burbank's daughter, is engaged to Floyd, the prosecuting attorney. Although he knows that it will cost him his sweetheart, Floyd performs his duty. As the trial progresses, it becomes apparent that Burbank has been used as a tool by the real scoundrel. He is released on suspended sentence, while Joynes receives ten years.

His fortune wiped out in the crash, Burbank and Eugenia leave for the South. They make their home in a lodge at the edge of a forest. His heart torn by the loss of his sweetheart, Floyd seeks forgetfulness in work. This brings about his breakdown. Floyd's physician orders him South for a rest. The doctor gives his patient the address of a hunting lodge. Ignorant of the fact that it is now occupied by Eugenia and her father, Floyd promises to board at the cottage. Eugenia learns of Floyd's coming. The girl contrives to keep the invalid from meeting either her father or herself.

As the days pass, Floyd is mystified at his inability to meet the girl who he knows lives in the same cottage. Later, while out hunting, Eugenia shoots at what she thinks is a deer--and finds that her bullet has hit Floyd. Her frantic cries bring assistance and the unconscious man is carried to the house. It is discovered that the wound is superficial. When Floyd regains consciousness he finds that the bullet which laid him low, had also levelled [sic] the obstacles that prevented his marriage to Eugenia.

The Girl of the Music Hall

3 reels. Producer: Kenean Buel. AJ as Ida, with Guy Coombs, John E. Mackin and Robert Walker.

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, March 10, 1915


A Three-Part Modern Drama Featuring Alice Joyce. Produced by the Kalem Company and Released March 22

Ida Alice Joyce
Alan Glynn Guy Coombs
Hagan John E. Mackin
Richard Fane Robert Walker

There is something about the productions of Kenean Buel that is intensely pleasing, and although it frequently happens, as in the present case, that the scenario, the foundation on which he builds his structure, is simple and lacking in dramatic intensity, still he builds and edifice so complete in the attention devoted to detail that the whole is pleasing and interesting. And furthermore, he seems to have that rare power of making the members of his cast really act and not simply go through the routine of stereotyped gestures and expressions. One fathers from looking at his finished pictures that Mr. Buel is a director who knows his business and knows how to make that knowledge appear on the screen.

There is one thing that may be said in favor of the scenario, and that is that it is based not only on human nature but on actual human experience. The stellar ranks of the stage are constantly being recruited in the manner shown in this picture, dealing with the rise to fame of an unknown singer on the East Side of New York. The story could have been well told, however, in two reels.

Fane, a musician, has composed an opera which fails to win public approval. Disconsolate and discouraged, two of his friends take him out in an endeavor to raise his depressed spirits. They wander into an East Side music hall and are impressed with the wonderful quality in the voice of a girl singer. She is uncouth and uncultured and does not appeal to the delicate taste of the sensitive musician. But the girl, Alice Joyce, obtains his address and persuades him to cultivate her voice.

Her improvement is rapid, and she soon obtains a position in a musical comedy company, where she meets a successful artist. They fall in love, and all is going smoothly until Hagan, the bouncer in the music hall where Ida formerly sang, discloses to Glynn, the artist, her past history. Glynn decides that on account of her past he cannot marry her, and Ida, disgusted, returns to he music hall. There Fane discovers her again, pleads his own great love, which he had heretofore concealed, and the usual happy ending follows.

Alice Joyce was likable as the music hall singer, inspiring they sympathy that the part demanded and acting throughout in a winsome, attractive manner. Guy Coombs, as Glynn, John E. Mackin as Hagan, and Robert Walker as Fane played simple parts in a pleasing and enjoyable manner.


Review from Moving Picture World, March 20, 1915

THE GIRL OF THE MUSIC HALL(Special--Three Parts--March 22).--The opera which Fane considers his masterpiece turns out to be a flat failure. The man loses all interest in life. In an effort to divert Fane's thoughts from the subject, some friends compel him to accompany them on a slumming trip. The party visits an East Side music hall. The place is nothing more than a dive and Fane takes no interest in what passes until Ida, one of the singers, appears to do her "turn." To the composer's surprise, the girl has a marvelous voice.

Fane meets Ida later in the evening. His interest in her dies when he finds the girl uneducated and ignorant. Fane's indifference piques Ida and she watches him when he leaves the place. Her interest in Fane arouses the jealousy of Hagan, the "bouncer." In the quarrel which ensues, the man attempts to strike her. The following day, Ida appears before Fane and begs him to help her. In spike of himself, the girl interests the composer and he takes her in hand. Whine Fane undertakes her vocal training, Ida supports herself by securing a position in the chorus of a musical comedy company.

Hard work wins recognition for the girl. Hagan, meanwhile, has kept track of Ida. He follows her everywhere. Alan Glynn, an artist and one of Fane's friends, returns from abroad. Glynn falls in love with Ida. The artist is ignorant of the girl's past. As time passes, Fane learns that he is also in love with Ida. Knowing of Glynn's affections for her, he keeps his own love secret. While the artist waits for the girl at the stage entrance one night, he meets Hagan. The latter informs Glynn about Ida's life in the East Side music hall.

Shortly afterwards, Ida, in discussing the future, informs her sweetheart of her desire to live in the country after their marriage. Glynn, however, declares that although he will always love her, he can never make her his wife. The man then tells her what he has learned from Hagan. Ida's love for Glynn turns to hate and loathing and she orders him away. Sick at heart, and feeling that the people of the slums cannot be worse than the friends she has made in her upward climb, Ida returns to the slums. Glynn and Hagan follow her. The men meet and a fight ensues. During the struggle, Glynn shoots and kills Hagan. With the murderer's arrest, he passes out of Ida's life forever. A few days later, Fane visits Ida in her old room in the East Side. He tells her of his love and asks her to be his wife. There comes to Ida the realization that it is Fane whom she has loved from the first and she becomes his wife.

The Face of the Madonna

3 reels. Director: Kenean Buel. AJ as Jane, with Guy Coombs, Helen Lindroth, James B. Ross, Robert D. Walker, Henry Hallam.

Review from The New York Dramatic Mirror, April 14, 1915


Three Part Drama. Produced by the Kalem Company, Under the Direction of Kenean Buel. Released April 19.

Jane Alice Joyce
Wallace Guy Coombs
His Wife Helen Lindroth
Jane's Father James B. Ross
Tige, a gangster Robert D. Walker
His Father Henry Hallam

This three-part picture is remarkable throughout for the close attention that has been devoted to realistic detail and for the consistently high order of acting ability displayed by every member of the cast. It is one of the most realistic expositions of gang life in New York that it has ever been my pleasure to witness. Kenean Buel, the director, deserves the utmost credit for the able manner in which he has produced this picture. In so far as I could see there was not an inaccuracy in the whole picture, even down to the smallest detail.

Following a gang fight, Jane, a girl of the slums, is married to the leader of one of the rival gangs, but is windowed on her wedding night. She becomes the accomplice of a gang of thieves and enters on a life of crime. Wallace, an artist, has trouble with his wife and she separates from him, leaving her baby in his care. Not desiring the care of the child in his bachelor quarters, Wallace places it in an institution. Later he is commissioned to paint a picture of the Madonna and Child for one of the fashionable churches, but has great difficulty in finding a suitable model. On visiting the orphanage to see his child he discovers Jane, who has seized the baby in order to escape from the police, and sees in her just the model he desires. Jane goes to the studio and poses for the picture, with the intention of robbing the artist on the first opportunity, but the beauty of the picture has such an effect on her that she falls in love with the artist instead. The wondrous beauty of the picture also influences the artist, who has fallen in love with Jane, but they renounce their love and the artist endeavors to find his wife and do his duty as a husband and a father. Jane gives up her life of crime and obtains a position as nurse in the orphanage. The artist finds his wife just at the moment that she has died and going to the orphanage finds Jane with the baby in her arm and the picture closes with the first kiss and embrace of their new found happiness.

Alice Joyce and Guy Coombs had the principal roles and handled them in an admirable manner, but this assertion also holds true of every other member of the cast, and especially true of James B. Ross as Jane's father. Too much cannot be said in praise of the manner in which the picture was staged and produced. Kenean Buel is indeed a director with a sense of the artistic in picture production.


Reviews from Moving Picture World, April 17, 1915

The Face of the Madonna.
Alice Joyce Has Very Pretty Part in Picture of Sentiment That Pleases and Entertains (Kalem--Three Parts).
Reviewed by Hanford C. Judson.

THESE three-reel Kalems are proving to be worthy offerings. This one, "The Face of the Madonna," tells a story of sentiment not quite so strong as the preceding one, "The Third Commandment," but I believe that, as a popular offering, it will run ahead of it. The story is new only in its development, which is fuller and more careful than of most, so far as we remember, of all its predecessors. It was produced by Keanan [sic] Buel and has a very pretty part of Alice Joyce, which she fills in many of its scenes with much charm.

The central theme is the converting power exercised on both the artist, a rather loose man, and on his model, a girl burglar, of the picture of the Madonna and Child that he paints. The girl would never have consented to pose had he not discovered on her arm a bracelet she had stolen from his wife who, it chances, had left him as impossible to live with. He threatens to turn this girl burglar over to the police and so compels her to pose. These conversions are only convincing through sentimentality. Not even here is the change of heart, particularly on the part of the artist, made strongly plausible; but one feels that such things might be and they do not offend--they are not against our humanity, but in favor of it, so the spectator is not so particular or critical

The picture, as we have intimated, has much commendable acting and many beautiful scenes. Guy Coombs plays the artist; Helen Lindroth, his irritable wife; Robert D. Walker, the gangster who the girl (Alice Joyce) marries just before he is killed by a member of a rival gang. She becomes a burglar under the tuition of her husband's father (James B. Ross) and refuses to go back to her own father, played by Henry Hallem [sic]. The principal backgrounds are city slums, the artist's home and an orphanage [Omitted, one photo]

"THE FACE OF THE MADONNA"(Special--Three parts--April 19).--Married to Tige, a gangster, Jane is widowed on her wedding day. She subsequently becomes an accomplice of her husband's father, who is a burglar. In the fashionable part of the city, the dissipation of Wallace, an artist, causes his wife to leave him. The artist refuses to allow her to take their child, but places it in an institution. Wallace is commissioned to paint a Madonna for the new cathedral. For a long time he searches in vain for a suitable model. Jane, pursued by a policeman who had seen her in the act of snatching a handbag, takes refuge in the grounds of the institution where Wallace has placed his baby. The infant's nurse places the child down for a few minutes. To throw her pursuers off the track, Jane picks the baby up and pretends to be its nurse.

Wallace comes to see his child. He discovers it in Jane's arms. In the girl the man finds the very type he has been looking for. Wallace learns of Jane's ruse. By threatening to turn her over to the police, he induces the woman to pose for him. As the paintings develops, Wallace discovers that he is inspired.

The marvelous picture has a curious effect [on?] the baseness of the lives they had been leading. Wallace finds that he loves Jane. She, however, has learned of the misery he has caused his wife. Her better nature aroused by the painting, Jane induces Wallace to seek Edna out. The model goes to the institution which houses the artist's baby and succeeds in securing a position as nurse. Wallace finds his wife--but too late. The woman dies just before he reaches her side. Remorse-stricken, he vows to devote all his time to his child. Wallace hastens to the institution for his baby. He finds her in Jane's arms.

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Last revised October 1, 2010