Double Crossed (1917) Famous Players Film Co. Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corp. Director: Robert G. Vignola. Scenario: Eve Unsell. Story: Hector Turnbull. Camera, Ned Van Buren. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Crauford Kent, Riley Hatch, Clarence Handyside, Harris Gordon, Joseph Smiley. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST
(Thanks to Derek Boothroyd for this picture)
A conventional scenario is "Double Crossed," a Famous Players (Paramount) release, starring Pauline Frederick. Were it not for the "class" brought to it by the star and the munificence of the staging, it would be a very ordinary picture. The Paramount producers have now attained sufficent perfection in their work and are given such liberal leeway in the matter of expenditure that it is almost impossible for them to turn out a really poor picture. But such trite scenarios do not redound to the credit of Paramount. A political boss has given a receipt for $10,000 to someone for having put over a crooked deal. First inconsistency. This receipt falls into the hands of a wealthy reformer. Let's call that likely, but highly improbable. The boss must get that "paper" or the whole gang will go to jail. He sends for one of his henchmen, a private detective. Detective reads in the daily paper the reformer is giving a house party, and among his guests a young man who had once picked up at a reception a $10,000 bracelet and was tempted to temporarily pawn it to tide him over a financial shortage. The detective had secured the return of the bracelet and a written confession from the young man, to avoid prosecution. Detective calls on the man who confessed years before, recalls the incident and says unless he secures "the paper" the confession will be published. He refuses, wife overhears, and at the reformers home in the dead of night, she steals the receipt, which, by the way, is conveniently left in a table drawer which can be opened with a paper cutter, which happens to be handy. She had previously made a deal with the detective to give him the receipt in return for her husband's confession. When she calls at the detective's home with the paper, he looks her over and pretends he has left the confession at his office, telling her to return that night for a little supper and a cold bottle. She understands his intention and returns in the evening, fortified by a sleeping powder which she slips into his wineglass. He, however, sees this action through a mirror and attempt to rough-house her. In the melee he falls against the sideboard and is knocked senseless. She escapes with both the confession and the incriminating receipt. Returning to the reformer's house she attempts to replace the stolen receipt and her husband detects her. They put it back in the table drawer, adjourn to their room where she hands him the confession and they are locked in a loving embrace. Miss Frederick gets all there is possible out of the role, as do the others in the well-selected cast. Direction, photography, everything connected with the production, fine, excepting the scenario.
Paramount Production with Pauline Frederick in a Dominating Role.
Reviewed by Louis Reeves Harrison..
Double-Crossed is a product of violently contrasted good and bad qualities, of superb and thoroughly artistic settings and handling, of exceptionally fine types, with Pauline Frederick using all the force of her attractive personality to win success, and yet it does not seem to make a favorable impression on the whole. The director and his assistants deserve very high commendation for the skilled visualization presenting as it does some exquisite picture effects, nice composition, and wonderful contrasts of light and shade. Pauline Frederick dominates through fine artistry of interpretation, and she is admirably supported by Riley Hatch and other members of the company, but the material has been used too often for modern employment. Those outworn devices, long discarced by the theater, and threadbare even in the new art, bob up continually, the stolen "papers" of ancient melodrama of crime; the wife who visits the villain in his rooms at a late hour, the constantly overheard conversations, all that and more of the same kind are resurrected again when we though them buried forever.
[Omitted, photo of Frederick with a man behind her holding her arms. Caption: Scene from "Double Crossed" (Paramount)]
The hero is a self-confessed thief; the heroine becomes one of the meanest kind, stealing from her host to save the husband, and the final restoration of the "papers" does not lift the stigma from them. They are simply lacking in principle when put to such trials, as many pass through with clean hands. Among two thousand people there was not a single handclap when I saw the presentation, though the visualization was of an exceptionally high character, such as would grace almost any composition. It can only be summed up as a highly artistic presentation of some very stale material in the way of a story.
Picture caption: In "Double-Crossed," (Paramount) Pauline Frederick got a good story. And you're kept guessing from beginning to end.
Somebody in the scenario department took a holiday, and Pauline Frederick slipped into the unguarded office and abstracted for herself a good story. This beautiful and brilliant woman has been suffering from sick scenarios for a long time. "Double-Crossed" is not an ideal, by any means, but it is the first story we have met in a long list of encounters with screen plots in which four successive guesses, in the course of the picture, as to how it was going to turn out, were all wrong. Hector Turnbull is the author. Director Vignola has done excellent work in the decorative scenes. The dramatic genius of Miss Frederick is not employed to full capacity here, but it is so great an improvement on most of her pictures that it arouses hope that her best will yet be seen.
(Thanks to Randy Bigham for this notice)
Last revised, October 1, 2010