Eyes of Youth (1919) Garson Productions. Distributor: Equity Pictures Corp. Director: Albert Parker. Scenario: Albert Parker. Adaptation: Charles E. Whittaker. Camera: Robert Edeson. Gowns (at least two): Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon).Cast: Clara Kimball Young, Gareth Hughes, Pauline Starke, Sam Sothern, Edmund Lowe, Ralph Lewis, Milton Sills, Vincent Serrano, William Courtleigh, Norman Selby, Rudolph Valentino, Edward M. Kimball (unbilled). 7 reels.
This film is Clara Kimball Young's most famous film, and is available on Video from several companies. Prints are held by The Library of Congress (35 mm.), Archives du film du CNC (incomplete tinted 35 mm nitrate, reels 1, 2-5), UCLA Film and Television Archive (35 mm. tinted nitrate of reel 1 and complete 16 mm print), and the Cineteca del Friuli (unconfirmed). This film features Rudolph Valentino in a small role. It was remade in 1927 by Gloria Swanson as The Loves of Sunya. This was Young's first film produced by Garson Productions and released through Equity.
|The Yogi (Vincent Serrano) enables Gina to see the true intentions of the opera impresario (William Courtleigh)|
|The Yogi offers his crystal ball (this and the above picture are courtesy of Barbara Ullibari)|
|Another lobby card (thanks to Derek Boothroyd for this scan)|
|One of the many elaborate advertisements used to promote this film (thanks to Randy Bigham for this scan)|
|Cover of the sheet music for the song "Eyes of Youth" (thanks to Steve Joyce for this scan)|
Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 (the part with Rudolph Valentino, if that's what you're looking for, Part 8, Part 9
|Gina Ashling||Clara Kimball Young|
|Her Brother||Gareth Hughes|
|Her Sister||Pauline Starke|
|Her Father||Sam Sothern|
|Her Suitor||Edmund Lowe|
|Still Another||Milton Sills|
|The Yogi||Vincent Serrano|
Of recent date the impression prevailed in film circles that Clara Kimball Young was done--that she was no longer a contender for first honors as a screen star. If there was any basis for such an allegation it will be dispelled with her appearance in "Eyes of Youth," produced by the Equity Pictures Corporation, under the direction of Albert Parker, who also made the scenario, from the stage play of that name.
The screen version of the Max Marcin-Charles Guernon play is a knockout, and will be an even more effective one when it is cut about 1,000 feet from its present length of more than seven reels. The final few hundred feet should be entirely scissored to avoid an anti-climax. If the Equity people do not apply the scissors themselves before distributing the wise exhibitors will undoubtedly do so.
The story of the play is too well known to be set down here, however briefly it might be summarized, and the photography, direction and casting is well-nigh above criticism. Miss Young has never appeared to better advantage before the camera. Indeed, she displays hitherto unsuspected histrionic talent. She is shown as a young woman who might have eventuated into any one of three different personalities had she chosen from a trio of paths in life. Her final characterization--that of a woman reduced to want and who had taken to "dope"--is truly wonderful. Her makeup in these scenes is truly masterful and she has not hesitated thoroughly to disguise the personal beauty for which she is famous.
There might perhaps have been a more clean cut chacaterization of the Yogi. Vincent Serrano, who enacted the role, fails to bring to it a sufficient amount of the spiritual side of the Hindoo; but that is a minor detail. With judicious pruning of some of the scenes it will hardly be noticed. With such productions as "Eyes of Youth" Clara Kimball Young will once more rank among the world's most profitable screen stars.
EYES OF YOUTH (Equity)
Clara Kimball Young's first Equity Pictures Corporation release, "Eyes of Youth," must be numbered among her big successes. The Max Marcin and Charles Guernon stage play, after its long run behind the footnights, has been adapted to the screen by Albert Parker, and the novelty and variety of incident of its plot lent themselves to the making of an absorbing photodrama. The star role is one to delight the heart of an actress, with its three widely differing episodes or phases of existence and the number of strong scenes in each phase. Vigorous action, for the most part, keeps the interest at the proper pitch and furnishes excellent proof that the stage climax is quite as effective on the screen when used by a scenario writer who understands how to apply it.
The story sounds complicated in the telling, but is easily followed on the screen. It belongs to the order of dream plays. Gina Ashling, as a reward for her purity of heart, is permitted by an East Indian yogi to look into the future and see what her fate will be if she chooses any path except the one pointed out by love. The path of duty, the path of ambition, and the path of riches, are all shown to lead to unhappiness. Gazing into a crystal globe Gina learns that if she sacrifices herself for her family and does not follow he dictates of her own heart no one will be the gainer. As a school teacher trying to do her duty as she sees it; as a successful opera singer who has bought her fame at the price of her honor, and as the wife of a millionaire who ruins her reputation that he may secure a divorce she sees herself in the magic crystal and the experience strengthens her determination to marry the man whose love is as unselfish as her own.
Clara Kimball Young measures up to the character of Gina Ashling and the many and exacting emotions which she feels at all times. Her best moments were the big scene in the dressing room of the Paris opera house and after her husband had divorced her and she has become an outcast. Exceptionally able support, and high class production, under the direction of Albert Parker, make the feature all that was promised for it.
"Eyes of Youth" is the kind of play that is dear to the hearts of many actresses and a large number of the public. It offers such a variety and intensity of histrionic moments to its actress and is so steeped in "heart appeal" a "sob stuff," sweetened by assurance of a happy ending, that is simply irresistible. It was on a Broadway stage for numerous weeks, and now it has come to the screen. It is at the Rivoli, and Clara Kimball Young, an infrequent visitor this year, is in the leading role.
Miss Young has been missed, and if her next picture is as far away from the present as her last she will be missed all the more because of her performance in "Eyes of Youth." When she undertook her latest work she promised to do something better than she had done for a long time, and she has fulfilled her promise. Although one may be unmoved by the story, he is bound to feel the force of her performance in the multiple role of the girl who images her future along three of the four roads open to her and finally takes, with happy confidence, the one she doesn't investigate. At least, she knows that it cannot be as bad as the other three.
Miss Young does not give much of opportunity to her supporting company or its members do not take advantage of their chance, despite the fact that many of them are well known. They are Gareth Hughes, Pauline Starke, Sam Sothern, Milton Sills, Ralph Lewis, Edmund Lowe, William Courtleigh, and Vincent Serrano.
EYES OF YOUTH (Equity, 1919)
Marjorie Rambeau created a dramatic furor in the stage version of "Eyes of Youth." Clara Kimball Young does the same thing in her umbrageous translation. Not since the good old days have we seen Clara so gloriously gowned, so well photographed or so powerfully emotional. I feel that in making the oriental seer who shows the young heroine what would happen should she choose the path of duty, wealth, fame, or love, a philanthropist who savors of an effort to mimic the altruism of the chink in "Broken Blossoms" and "The Miracle Man," the director has made a mistake. For the character is either subtly nor poetically played and adds nothing to the effectiveness of the picture. Miss Young was most sympathetic as the woman grown old doing her duty, and most gloriously realistic as the opera singer in the fame episode. Her depiction of the drug addict savored simply of theatricalisms and grease-paint. "Eyes of Youth" is a decidedly well produced picture. Every girl cannot help wishing that she, too, might have a crystal in which to see the results of her choice at the "crossroads of life." I found Edmund Lowe good to look upon as the hero and Milton Sills smugly correct in a minor role.
Certainly Clara Kimball Young's best film available today, possibly her best film ever. Young is perhaps not so youthful as implied by the title, but at least looks mature enough to be asking the questions of life that she does. She portrays the various alternative fates of her character and, though she's still prone to overacting, shows greater sensitivity and empathy than in her earlier extant films. She's touching as the school teacher who is old before her time and the pathetic drug addict, and she's satisfyingly angry (always her best emotion) as the prima donna. Significantly she doesn't ask the yogi about her future with the man she wants to marry. Young leads an exceptionally strong cast including Pauline Starke as her selfish sister, Gareth Hughes as her whiney brother, Edmund Lowe as her fiancee, Milton Sills as her faithless and hypocritical would-be suitor, an unbilled appearance by father Edward Kimball as a divorce court judge, and, best of all, Rudolph Valentino as the correspondent for hire. The films was a big popular and critical success, and was remade by Gloria Swanson in 1927 as The Loves of Sunya. The Swanson film is slicker but lacks the heart of the earlier version, as well as avoiding the less glamorous alternative lives. The film is available on Video from Grapevine. The picture is a little soft, and the organ score is appropriate It is also available from PicPal, Movies Unlimited, Facets, Ebony Showcase Theater, Nostalgia Family Video, Foothill, and many other public domain video dealers. The scenes with Rudolph Valentino were included on the Image Entertainment release of The Married Virgin.