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Ashes of Embers (1916)

Ashes of Embers (1916) Famous Players Film Co. Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corp. Director: Joseph Kaufman. Scenario: Forrest Halsey. Adapted by John B. Clymer and Charles A. Logue. Camera, Ned Van Buren. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Earle Foxe, Frank Losee, J. Herbert Frank, Maggie Halloway Fisher, Jay Wilson. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST

clipping with picture An unidentified clipping with a picture from the film.
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Review from Variety
Review from Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, September 29, 1916

Agnes Ward Pauline Frederick
Laura Ward " "
Richard Leigh Earl Fox
William Benedick Frank Losee
Mrs. Ward Maggie Halloway Fisher
Daniel Marvin Herbert J. Frank
Detective Jay Wilson

Five part Famous Players (Paramount) feature is "Ashes of Embers," by Forrest Halsey, directed by Joseph Kaufman, photography by Ned Van Buren, starring Pauline Frederick. While it is the old, old story of the twin sisters, one very, very good and the other very, very bad, there are numerous new twists and it is modernized and given sufficient class to place the pictures high up in the ranks of program features. The bad sister gives up her young sweetheart to marry a wealthy middle-aged man, after having stolen some money for which the good sister is sent to jail. Later she inveigles the young man into an affair and when sued for divorce by her husband, arranges with her husband's lawyer to seek a woman who looks like her to stand for the affair so the husband will think he has been mistaken. In seeking for a double the private detective runs across the twin sister, not knowing her, and the good sister is persuaded to act as "the goat" under the impressing she is saving the name of a married woman who had merely been foolish. The boy had taken to drink and the good sister nurses him back to the straight path, they fall in love and marry. The bad sister and the young man meet at a house party, she introduced him to drink, is seen kissing him by the husband, who shoots her and the good sister takes her husband home. The details of the plot are worked out so true to life and the two characters so admirably contrasted by Pauline Frederick that an otherwise conventional melodrama is lifted far above the mediocre.


Review from Moving Picture World

October 7, 1916

"Ashes of the Embers"
Five-Reel Photoplay Produced by the Famous Players Film Co.--Pauline Frederick in a Dual Role.
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel.

The author of "Ashes of Embers," the five-reel photo-drama produced by the Famous Players Film Company, in which Pauline Frederick plays a dual role, has provided the star with a number of strong situations. Forrest Halsey understands dramatic values and has secured them for his play by the introduction of unlovely but authentic pictures of human experience. One of his characters is amoral degenerate, another is a weakling who cannot resist temptation when fortified by the love of a good woman. But after all is said, it is the criminal, and not the uninteresting good man, that sees his name on the front page of the daily paper. Sin and sorrow are the roots of drama, and "Ashes of Embers" has a full supply of both.

The two characters played by Pauline Frederick are twin sisters, one an industrious shopgirl, the other lacking every instinct for good. Laura, the moral pervert, loves a young architect, but marries an elderly man of wealth , and then carries on an intrigue with her former lover. Her sister, Agnes, has been made to serve a term in prison for a theft committed by Laura. At the time of her release, Agnes is penniless, and her sister is living in luxury. Laura's husband has got wind of her affair with Leigh; however, and a rascally lawyer aids the wife in throwing him off the track. Without knowing whom she is impersonating, Agnes is persuaded to pass herself off as her sister, Mrs. Benedict, and keep an appointment with the architect at his rooms. The deceived husband rushes in an confronts the wrong woman. Laura is saved by the trick, and Agnes and the architect becomes interested in each other. The young fellow is the victim of drink but Agnes devotes herself to his reformation. Later, the two are married. Chance throws Laura and Richard Leigh together again. She tries to renew the old relation, is found out and shot be her husband. Leigh was unable to resist the wine offered him by Laura, and is seen clinging to Agnes, in an agony of fear and remorse, as the play ends.

[Omitted: Photo of Frederick and a man.]

Such a story will not stand close analysis, either from a logical or moral point of view. It does, however, offer many skillfully constructed dramatic scenes. The workmanship after Agnes and Leigh are married is not so expert as that in the preceding reels and comes dangerously near to being anti-climax. To return to the moral aspect of the story, the marriage of Leigh to the sister of his paramour is not a pleasant thought, especially as happiness with so weak a nature is a matter of considerable doubt.

It goes without saying that the unmoral sister is the better acting part. Pauline Frederick carries her impersonation of Laura to the nth degree of realism. The methods she used in "Zaza" and "Bella Donna" are repeated with telling effect in the part of Laura Ward. The woman she enacts is without moral perception or one redeeming quality. The sister is the direct antithesis to Laura in thought and act. Miss Frederick experiences no difficulty in giving life and expression to the character.

The supporting company is made up of such dependable actors as Earl Foxe, Frank Losee, Herbert J. Frank, Jay Wilson and Maggie Halloway Fisher. The production has the Famous Players hallmark on every scene.

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Last revised, December 25, 2008