Lydia Gilmore (1915) Famous Players Film Co. Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corp. Presenter: Daniel S. Frohman. Director: Edwin S. Porter and Hugh Ford. Scenario, Hugh Ford. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Vincent Serrano, Thomas Holding, Robert Cain, Helen Luttrell, Jack Curtis, Michael Rale. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST
This was the first of Frederick's courtroom films, and the last of her films with Edwin S. Porter.
|Lydia Gilmore||Pauline Frederick|
|Dr. Gilmore||Vincent Serrano|
|Ralph Benham||Thos. Holding|
|Dr. Stracey||Robert Cain|
|Mrs. Stracey||Helen Luttrell|
|Master Ned Gilmore||Jack Curtis|
Five part Famous Players (Paramount) feature, starring Pauline Frederick. Splendid scenario, magnificent photography and excellent acting, combining to make a most classy picture. Strong drama giving Miss Frederick plenty of opportunity for emotional acting and an usual role for Vincent Serrano as a modern "heavy." Lydia Gilmore (Miss Frederick) is married to a handsome man (Serrano). They have a little boy. Husband has not been true to her, but she bears with him for the sake of the child. Husband has a liaison with a married woman, whose husband overhears and keeps the engagement. A fight ensues and Gilmore kills the other man. He rushes home and tells his wife, pleading that she is the only one who can save him by swearing that he hadn't left home on that fatal night. Child enters, sees his father in an excited state and knows he has been out. The trial hinges on the alibi and after the wife testifies in her husband's behalf, not wishing her son to bear the disgrace, the child is about to be heckled, when the mother calls a halt and tells the truth. A somewhat similar situation was unfolded in a melodrama at the London Haymarket some twenty-odd years ago. The piece was called "The Red Lamp" and Sir Herbert Tree (then known as Herbert Beerbohm-Tree) appeared in it. Husband is convicted but dies of heart failure before the law can exact its penalty. One of the best releases ever turned out by the Famous Players.
It is doubtful if Edwin S. Porter and Hugh Ford have collaborated to better all-around advantage than they did in the production of the photoplay that marked the ending of their association as joint producers. "Lydia Gilmore," the Famous Players' adaptation of Henry Arthur Jones' drama of English society, is a splendid type of finished photoplay. The steady interest of the story itself is enhanced by the work of the cast as well as of the directors.
[Omitted, photo of a man taking the hand of a seated Frederick.]
At the head of the players is Pauline Frederick. There was to be found in the throng that patiently awaited admittance to the Strand at 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon a striking illustration of the increasing regard in which Miss Frederick is held by photoplay followers. It may have been a tribute to the house as well as to the player, but it was out of the ordinary. Miss Frederick has the name role. In the portrayal of Lydia, the young woman who, out of gratitude to her aunt, and against her strongly-defined inclination, accepted the hand of a man she did not love, she brings to bear all her talent for emotional interpretation. As the carefree girl she fascinates by her charm and vivacity. As the older woman unhappily married, to whose tragedy of soul there is added the tragedy of blood, she is compelling in her strength.
"Lydia Gilmore," barring the opening scenes, is stern drama. One of its basic elements is renunciation, the elimination of self. This is exemplified in the setting aside by Lydia of her affection for Benham, the lawyer without a brief. It crops out again in the trial for murder of Gilmore, the husband of Lydia, whom Benham, now prosecuting attorney, tries to save from execution in spite of the fact the prosecutor knows Lydia still loves him. It would be difficult to construct a situation where normally a representative of the law could with great zest enter into the prosecution of a murderer. Lydia has pleaded not for Gilmore--she despises him; not for herself, but for her son. Yet at the crucial moment of the trial it is Lydia herself, when she sees the little fellow about to follow her instructions and with reluctance testify as to what is not the truth, who sweeps aside the false fabric and denounces her husband. It is a thrilling denouement.
The cast is a short one and a strong one. Vincent Serrano is the husband, Thomas Holding the lawyer, and Jack Curtis the little son. Helen Luttrell is Mrs. Stracey, the charmer of Gilmore; Robert Cain is Stracey, killed in his own home by Gilmore, and Michael Rale is a most convincing detective.
"Lydia Gilmore is lavishly staged and the story is closely knit.
LYDIA GILMORE (Famous Players--Five Parts--December 27).--The cast; Lydia Gilmore (Pauline Frederick); Dr. Gilmore (Vincent Serrano); Ralph Benham (Thomas Holding); Mr. Stracey (Robert Cain) ; Mrs. Stracey (Helen Luttrell) ; Master Ned Gilmore (Jack Curtis) ; Detective (Michael Rale).
Dr. Gilmore, though successful in keeping his wife in ignorance of his numerous intrigues, cannot conceal from her the fact that he no longer loves her. Finally ascertaining the truth of his suspicions that the doctor is in love with Mrs. Stracey, Stracey sets a trap into which Gilmore walks. When he has caught his man, Stracey is killed in the fight which ensues, and the terrified Gilmore confessing to his wife, giving her the knife with which the crime was committed. She hides it and, after a struggle with her conscience, decides to shield her husband for the sake of her son, Ned. Her great love for Ned has led to the formation of a new friendship with a lawyer named Benham whose great attachment of Ned has won her gratitude. This man falls in love with Mrs. Gilmore, but, being an honorable man, complies with her request that they part company. But it happens that Benham elects the night of the murder as the time on which to bid good-bye to Mrs. Gilmore. He comes to the house and is seen conversing with little Ned by one of the servants.
When the news of the murder comes out in the morning, circumstantial evidence points to Dr. Gilmore, though nobody believes that he is guilty. However, he is arrested and Benham, sensing his guilt when he reads of the affair in the papers, hastens back to Mrs. Gilmore to offer his assistance. Scarcely has she finished confiding the truth to him when he is called upon to prosecute the case himself. He accepts and jeopardizes his professional standing by coaching Mrs. Gilmore in the answering of the questions which he will ask her on the stand.
Mrs. Gilmore safely survives the perilous siege on the stand, but when the letter of the servant who saw Benham at her home is read in court and the judge demands that little Ned be placed on the stand, Mrs. Gilmore breaks down completely and confesses the truth. Her cowardly husband commits suicide rather than face the penalty of the law, and Mrs. Gilmore is removed from the court in a state of complete collapse. She is taken to Benham's home, where she is placed under the tender care of the lawyer's sister. There is every reason to believe that the suffering of Mrs. Gilmore will soon give way to a well-deserved happiness.
Last revised, September 16, 2005