The Sting of the Lash (1921) R-C Co. Distributor: R-C Pictures. Director: Henry King. Scenario: H. Tipton Steck. Story: Harvey Gates. Camera: Dev Jennings. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Clyde Fillmore, Lawson Butt, Lionel Belmore, Jack Richardson, Edwin Stevens, Betty Hall, Evelyn McCoy, Percy Challenger. 6 reels. This film appears to be LOST
|Dorothy Keith||Pauline Frederick|
|Joel Gant||Clyde Fillmore|
|Ben Ames||Lionel Belmore|
|Daniel Keith||Edwin Stevens|
No real dramatic wallop in this picture. There is, however, a real flogging with a blacksnake whip, with Pauline Frederick doing a Simon Legree and her no-account bootlegging hubby as the Uncle Tom, which was undoubtedly counted on as the punch, but it does not get to the audience.
The production is a Robertson-Cole release written by Harvey Gates and adapted for the screen by H. Tipton Steck. Henry King had the direction in hand.
The tale is a western meller that gives Miss Frederick a chance to do some riding. Knowing the star's love of horses and her delight when mounted on a steed, it is easy to see why the story was picked.
Miss Frederick is the daughter of a New York financier who has gone broke, and the two "go west." On the trip dad passes out, and the girl lives with her uncle, who is the sheriff. She meets and marries Joel Gant, who has a claim staked out. While they are on their honeymoon the girl's uncle double-crosses them and relocates the claim and sells it to the big mining interests. Thereupon the boy loses his nerve and slips from bad to worse. Finally he starts bootlegging, and the wife, disgusted with him and the life he is leading, strings him to the rafters of their shack and administers a flogging. Later he is sent to the pen for selling booze. While he is away she comes east and makes a place for herself in the business world. The husband, on being released, seeks her out and she shames him into trying all over again. In the end his regeneration is effected.
The picture does not seem to hit the fans, at least the audience at Loew's New York Saturday afternoon did not grow excited. Perhaps they are not in the habit of seeing Miss Frederick leaning over a tub and doing a slavey. Miss Frederick gives a corking performance, but the picture was not quite strong enough in story for her.
The direction of Mr. King was decidedly uneven and did not help the production.
This is a poor dramatic production, possessing no comedy relief from an indifferent story, and a hero characterization that is not convincing.
"The Sting of the Lash" recounts the theft of a mining claim from a prospector, the hero, and his gradual demoralization as a result of it. But in the end, he "takes a tumble" to himself, and is re-united to the heroine who had left him because of his brutal treatment of her.
It is a shame to waste a player of Miss Fredericks' recognized ability on such a picture.
Where Pauline Fredericks is a drawing-card, the picture may get by.--Rob.-Cole, 5,745 ft.; Sept. 11; 66 to 82 min.
Last revised, September 24, 2005