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The Hungry Heart (1917)

The Hungry Heart (1917) Famous Players Film Co. Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corp. Director: Robert G. Vignola. Scenario: Charles Maigne. Camera, Ned Van Buren. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Howard Hall, Robert Cain, Helen Lindroth, Eldean Steuart. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST

Review from Variety
Reviews from Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, November 30, 1917


Just what here is about "The Hungry Heart" other than the name of the star to make that feature stand up for a week's run at one of New York's leading picture theatres on Broadway is heard to say. The Picture is a Famous Players-Paramount release with Pauline Frederick starred. Miss Frederick plays her usual type of heroic role in the piece, which has as its plot one of the likewise usual triangle stories that in this case is just as impossible hodge podge, much tainted the atmosphere of improbability. The playing other than by the star is quite on a par with the story itself. The leading man and the heavy are well nigh impossible and the direction reeks with inaccuracies. Miss Frederick as the heroine marries a chemist, too rapt in his work to give her the love and attention she craves, and when she asks that her permit her to share his work he refuses. A year or more passes and a child is born, then four additional years elapse and the child is grown and the wife again approaches the husband with a request he permit her to assist in his research work, but again is met with refusal. Then she visits her mother, telling that she has decided to leave her husband. Mother sends her right back to her home and family. On her return she discovers that her husband has taken in a partner who has furnished some needed cash (although the chemist's home looked like a mansion about a city block in length), and the husband insists the wife be nice to the bankroll guy. Just for that she falls in love with him. While assisting the husband in some work the financial backer is injured in an explosion which destroys part of the fittings in the laboratory, and the husband has to go all the way to New York to replace them. While he is gone wife and money man declare their love for each other and clinch. When the husband returns and discovers it he consents to a divorce, with the wife keeping the custody of the child, and leaves. After the divorce is granted he comes back and asks the wife to help him in the laboratory. The two are getting along nicely when the lover again turns up. Right there the husband pulls the prize bone of the game. He scares the lover and the latter takes it on a run, while hubby tells wifey he is willing to start all over again and give her another chance. All the picture might have called "For His Child's Sake" as well as "The Hungry heart," and there would have been more sense to it. As a program picture it will pass on the strength of the star's name only.


Review from Moving Picture World

December 8, 1917

"The Hungry Heart"
Famous Players-Paramount Offers a Strong Drama of Domestic Life, with Pauline Frederick in the Leading Role.
Reviewed by Louis Reeves Harrison.

Pauline Frederick has the leading part in the Famous Players-Paramount five-part drama of domestic life. "The Hungry Heart," dated for release November 5, but shown to New York for the first time at the Strand on Sunday, November 18.

[Omitted, Photo of Frederick holding her arms out to man. Caption: Scene from "The Hungry Heart" (Paramount)]

"The Hungry Heart" has a deathless theme, one which is developing along entirely new lines in view of the recent feminine assertion of right to a place in the sun of human advancement, and the story gathers strength as it progresses in spite of its conventional plot, one triangular in George Ohnet's best style. That triangular situation is an old-mine diamond for the dramatist, but it may sparkle brilliantly with new cutting, and the facets are so varied in form that it shines out in countless combinations when skillfully handled. It is admirably treated in this case, though both husband and lover are almost characterless, the one automatically busy with a [?] of chemical experiments, so stupidly indifferent to the impassioned creature he has married, that he is an exaggerated type rather than a human being. He brings a handsome young man into the house to live on very intimate terms and insists that his wife shall show the newcomer every possible attention because of his value in a business matter. Having thrown these two into a dangerous intimacy, he neglects the loving woman he should cherish. In the house is a hostile old housekeeper, who takes it upon herself to watch the young wife, and the spy is finally rewarded by catching the wife and lover in a situation purely accidental, but decidedly compromising. The shock of discovery is nearly fatal to the infirm old housekeeper. She succumbs to hysterical paralysis and is unable to communicate to the husband what she has seen.

A high state of suspense is now set up, one pointing straight to tragedy, for the old housekeeper recovers speech and the lover leaves in such a hurry that he is made ignominious. The interview between husband and wife after the disclosure is really the story's high point, and now, from the midst of the old dramatic material arises a glimpse of New Ethics, the idea of one law for both, but it is only a glimpse. The Strand audience watching "The Hungry Heart" as an interesting vehicle for Miss Frederick now began to sit up and comment on the problem presented. There was a buzz of conversation on all parts of the house. The personality of Pauline ceased to dominate--the outcome of the story was the absorbing issue. The stupidly neglectful husband suddenly becomes a self-sacrificing one. He permits his wife to get a divorce. He returns in penitent mood, his vision enlarged, and a philosophic reconciliation follows, ostensibly for the sake of a child, but really because of a mutual recognition that "to err is human, to forgive, divine."

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Last revised, September 16, 2005