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The Deep Purple (1915)

The Deep Purple (1915) World Film Corp.; A Liebler Feature. Distributor: World Film Corporation. Director: James Young. Assistant Director: Edwin L. Hollywood. Camera, Arthur Edeson. Cast: Clara Kimball Young, E.M, Kimball, Milton Sills, May Hopkins, Mrs. E.M. Kimball, W.J. Ferguson, Grace Aylesworth, Crawford Kent, Fred Truesdale, DeWitt Jennings, Walter Craven. 5 reels. This film is thought to be LOST

Clara Kimball Young's father, Edward M. Kimball, plays her father in the film, and her mother, Pauline Maddern, plays the hero's mother. W.J. Ferguson, mentioned in the review below, was playing in the Ford Theater production of Our American Cousin the night Lincoln was shot. This film was re-released in 1916 and remade by Miriam Cooper under Raoul Walsh's direction in 1920. This film is also lost.

Review from Variety
Reviews from Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, January 8, 1915


The Paul Armstrong-Wilson Mizner melodrama, made into a five-reel feature, marked for release by the World Film Corporation Jan. 11, is disclosed as a rather mild love story. The underworld "punch" possessed by the stage form has been taken out in part. The change is probably due to the fact that Cora [sic] Kimball Young, the star, was cast for the role of Doris Moore, the country innocent who falls into the clutches of the city crooks and is used, all unknowing, in their badger game. In the play this was a rather pale character, while sympathetic interest centered in 'Frisco Kate, the reformed shoplifter and thief, and Gordon Laylock, the gunman. Neither of these characters attains anything like the same prominence in the picture as it did in the play, and to one who has seen the stage performance the screen version will suffer by comparison. The scenario writer departed widely from the original. When Lake goes to the crook's flat, for example, there is a fight in which he is worsted and robbed. The play made him the victor in this incident and prepared the way for a capital climax at the curtain. W.J. Ferguson as "Pop" Clark, the hypocritical crook (he created the part and appears in it on the screen) has the "fat" comedy role, doing extremely well. The photoplay story differs so widely from that of the drama it is worth outlining. Harry Leland, member of a band of New York crooks, "sells" a church organ to Rev. Moore, minister in a small country village and departing, elopes with Doris Moore, his daughter. Leland makes Doris the innocent instrument in an attempt to blackmail William Lake, a mining man, just back from the west. Lake rescues Doris from the clutches of the crooks and falls in love with her. Rev. Moore, tricked, is afraid to face his flock without the organ, but Lake buys him one, smoothing out his difficulties and winning first gratitude and then love of Doris. The finale is a "mushy" but showing Lake and Doris in each other's arms before the newly installed organ while five angels float about among the prop clouds in the air. The tableau was poorly done and should move a sophisticated audience to mirth.

Reviews from Moving Picture World

January 16, 1915

"The Deep Purple"
Broadway Success Picturized in Five Reels by James Young for World Film Program
Reviewed by Hanford C. Judson

The latter half of this picture, "The Deep Purple," is very good. It is all clearly told an many of its characters are ably taken, but the situation is not strictly fresh and until the minister's daughter elopes with the crooked organ salesman, the action seems to be treading along not very interesting paths. But from this point, which takes place in the middle of the third reel, the story begins to hold most effectively The action from there on makes one forget the unconvincing method used in building its starting point.

[Photo omitted--Ms. Young and Milton Sills with an unidentified man]

It is a five-reel offering and was directed by James Young on the Peerless studio. He has a good cast of players at his service. Clara Kimball Young has the part of Doris Moore, the country minister's daughter, who falls in love and elopes with Harry Leland, a "badger" salesman of a band of fraudulent "organ merchants." The girl's father is played by Edward M. Kimball. The chief crook, "Popp Clark," is played by W.J. Ferguson, who puts a touch of comic character drawing in his work that provides good relief. William Lake, the hero and a mining engineer, who comes to New York, is taken by Milton Sills, who is excellent in the role, giving a vigorous and very likeable hero. The best acted emotional moment in the whole story comes when "Fresno Kate," in whose house the crooks planned the blackmail game, has found that they have used the innocent girl, who thinks her Harry the epitome of all that's good and noble, to attract Lake to the apartment. "Fresno Kate" is played by Grace Aylesworth, and she has taken a strong fancy to the girl. She refuses to have her used for such a purpose, but the crooks sneaked her out and now she pleads with Lake to let her help in the rescue. Mrs. Lake is played by Mrs. E.M. Kimball and Lake's sister by May Hopkins. De Will [sic] Jennings, Walter Craven and many others have good roles.

The play from which the picture was made was a Broadway success of a few seasons back and was written by Paul Armstrong and Wilson Mizer. The backgrounds represent a New Jersey country town and New York City. There are a few scenes of mining and Western atmosphere. The picture closes with a few very artistic glimpses of the heroine and the hero together at the new organ in the little church, two of these suggest famous paintings. The camera work and staging are commendable.

January 23, 1915

THE DEEP PURPLE. (Five Parts).--Doris Moore is the daughter of a minister living at a small country town a few hours' distance from New York. She helps her father in his work among his congregation, teaches in the Sunday school and plays the weezy old organ in the church.

The household is thrown into a mild state of excitement of receipt of a letter purporting to come from an organ supply company in New York, but which in reality is from a band of crooks who use this as one of the fraudulent schemes whereby they obtain money from the unwary. The letter offers to supply a beautiful new organ on receipt of an installment of one third the cost, the balance to be paid on time. The matter is laid before the deacons and they decide to consider the offer. The minister writes to the organ company and the chief of the crooks, Harry Leland, a handsome, dashing man of the world, arrives and explains in glowing terms the advantages of the organ. While waiting for the deacons to collect the first installment of two hundred dollars, Leland pays considerable attention to Doris, who is much fascinated by him, representing as he does a totally different type of man to what she has been used to.

In the meantime, the crooks in New York have received information from out West that Will Lake, a young eastern college man who in two years has made a fortune of fifty thousand dollars, is returning east, and will stay in New York for a week. They decide to try to blackmail Lake on his arrival and at once communicate with Leland, who replies that he will return immediately as soon as he gets the organ money. Leland has become attracted by the freshness and beauty of Doris and decides to lure her to New York and then make use of her in the crooks' nefarious schemes. He protests violent love for her and proposes marriage, and Doris consents.

Immediately after receiving the two hundred dollars from the deacons, he approaches Doris as she leaves Sunday school and with well simulated despair tells her he has received very bad news and that he is threatened with ruin and begs her to go to New York with him as she alone can save him. After much persuasion, Doris' scruples are overcome and she returns with Leland who takes her to the boarding house run by 'Frisco Kate, a house which is used by the crooks as a meeting place.

It is decided to have Doris act as a decoy and to get Lake to visit a flat which has been prepared beforehand. She is therefore told that Lake has defrauded her lover Leland of a considerable sum of money and that if he could be seen, things might be arranged satisfactorily. She is told to speak to Lake, who will be pointed out to her in the hotel, and tell him that her mother who has friends in Goldfield wishes to ask his advice about mining stock.

The plan succeeds and Lake unsuspectingly goes to the flat and while alone with Doris, Leland with two other crooks rush in and accuse him of being in a compromising position with Doris whom he calls his wife, much to her amazement, and says that Lake must pay in money to avoid scandal. Lake intuitively feels that Doris is innocent and refuses. A furious fight ensues in which Lake is knocked unconscious, robbed of all his money and locked in the room, the crooks making good their escape with Doris, whom they take to their hiding place.

Their plans are defeated, however, by one of their own band, Laylock and 'Frisco Kate, who, hardened crooks though they have been, refused to be parties to the dragging down of an innocent girl. They release Lake and go along with him to the police and lead a raid on the crooks' hiding place who are all captured and receive their just desserts.

Doris meets her father at the police station, he having come to New York to trace her. Lake, who is much interested in them, invites them to his hotel to meet his mother and sister. There is a pretty ending to the story when Will Lake, who to celebrate his good fortune and has made the church a present of a beautiful organ, pays a visit to Doris and her father, and a love romance, the seeds of which were set when she innocently acted as a decoy, is happily consummated.

December 9, 1916

"The Deep Purple"
Five-Reel Paragon Screen Version of the Paul Armstrong and Wilson Mizner State Success, Starring Clara Kimball Young--Released by the World Film Corporation
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel

The first statement to be made relative to the five-reel Paragon screen version of "The Deep Purple" is the agreeable information that, leaving out the question of lineage and taking the picture solely on its own merits, it constitutes an excellent grade of entertainment. The maker of the scenario has started out to furnish Clara Kimball Young with an adequate starring vehicle and not to transfer, as nearly as possible, the Armstrong-Mizner drama to the screen. From this angle of the matter he has executed his task with skill. Discarding the material in the play that would in any way hamper the object he had in view, the adapter has built up a logically developed screen drama that opens quietly in the home of a country clergyman, shows how the clergyman's daughter was lured to the city, fell in among thieves and is rescued by a handsome young hero, who is seen at the end of the last reel bending over her as she plays the organ in her father's church. The steady increase of interest and dramatic tension is dexterously maintained up to the end of the fourth reel, the last thousand feet brings the story to a pleasant and easily anticipated finish.

[Photo omitted--Ms. Young and Milton Sills with an unidentified man]

Comparison between the original work and the photoplay brings out the several interesting features. "The Deep Purple" as first written was a remarkable study in criminology. Although provided with an adequate story, it was its keen study of character, the variety and authenticity of its underworld types, that gave the play its vogue; in the screen drama the story comes first and the fate of the heroine takes precedence over everything else. Two parts that are mere shadows of their former selves are Frisco Kate and the Westerner "who killed his man." In the play they were drawn with great power and were acted with consummate art by Ada Dwyer and Emmet Corrigan. The one member of the original cast to be found in the photoplay is W.J. Ferguson, who repeats his inimitable performance of "pop."

The entire cast is a good one. Clara Kimball Young plays Doris Moore, the clergyman's daughter. To an actress of her charm and ability the task is not difficult. Milton Sills, E.H. Kimball, Crawford Kent, Fred Truesdale, Grace Aylesworth and Mrs. E.M. Kimball are others who assist in the picture's success. The direction of James Young is high grade.

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Last revised October 13, 2005