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A Woman Between Friends (1918)

The Woman Between Friends (1918) Vitagraph Co. of America. A Blue Ribbon Feature. Distributor: Greater Vitagraph. Presenter: Albert E. Smith. Director: Tom Terriss. Scenario: Tom Terriss. Camera: Joe Shelderfer. Cast: Alice Joyce, Marc MacDermott, Robert Walker, Edith Speare, Katherine Lewis, Mary Maurice, A.B. Conkwright, Bernard Siegel. 5 reels This film appears to be LOST

Review from Variety
Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror
Reviews from Moving Picture World
Review from Motion Picture Classic

Review from Variety, Feb 22, 1918


A Vitagraph feature, with Alice Joyce and Marc McDermott [sic]. Taken from the Robert W. Chambers' book, "Between Friends," constructed and directed for the screen by Tom Terriss, the story has most of the standard elements of what has been known as "sure-fire" for picture fans, the triangle, added heart interest, and studio (artist) setting. Whether the New York theatre is acting malignantly in the manner of presenting features on Friday with studio sets among the scenes is a matter for the Loew conscience, but it is a fact happening right along. "A Woman Between Friends" makes a whole lot better subject as it has been developed for the camera than the bare skeleton of its story might convey. Readers of the Chambers book may look forward to an absorbing tale. They are going to find it real holding in this picturization. Besides an intricate plot smoothly worked out, there is an extremely well balanced company of competent players, production through direction most worthy of favorable notice from the ultra-critical, and a wealth of continuity to the action that has done away with any dragginess. One point of this Vita feature should be dwelt upon. That is the absence of quick flashes of poses that is gaining an alarming list of disciples among directors, it would seem. It may be a table or desk scene with three principals in the centre. Close-ups are shown of one, bust usually, than the other and then another, then the group, close-up and ordinarily, then a repetition of the tiresome thing to catch "expression" or whatever the picture people may call it. The story starts with two flower girls at Nice (France) indulging in a light flirtation with two traveling artists, friends for 20 years. This leads to scenes in the studio quarter of Paris, a marriage of one of the artists, the loss of his wife through the other artist and friend stealing her, and the tragic death of the wife by burning to death at a Carnival Ball in Nice. The burning scene is cleverly handled to remove too gruesome a touch. This is accomplished by some vagueness and was quite an experiment, successfully made. The Carnival scene itself is full of life and color. The story goes into a sort of a rolling ball from that point, bringing out the attempted suicide of the false friend to prevent the bereaved husband from wrecking vengeance upon one of the flower girls (Miss Joyce) with whom the villainous artist has fallen deeply in love, although the girl's affections are for the other artist. The finish leaves open a question if the villainous artist did not expiate his sin through accepting death to prevent another ruin. Miss Joyce looked her part, and has a rather nice look to her. She played as well, but no better than the remainder of the cast. One scene during which Death as a character was brought in to snatch its victim was well presented in the characterization and the entrance. Death is probably the most difficult character to consistently present upon the stage or screen. "The Woman Between Friends " is a good program feature, different from the customary story of its kind.


Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror, February 16, 1918


Five-Part Drama by Robert W. Chambers, Featuring Alice Joyce and Marc MacDermott. Produced by Vitagraph Under the Direction of Tom Terriss.

The Players--Alice Joyce, Marc MacDermott, Robert Walker, Edith Spears, and Katherine Lewis.

The beautiful and talented Alice Joyce in an appealing role. A story by Robert W. Chambers. The excellent direction and the elaborate carnival scenes.

In Robert W. Chambers' "A Woman Between Friends," the characters are so well drawn and the situations so well conceived, that Vitagraph's latest vehicle for Alice Joyce offers film entertainment of the best sort. Mr. Chambers has fashioned his story along romantic as well as realistic lines, and has through his careful plot construction built up a keen interest in the outcome of his tale.

As the title indicates, it is a woman's influence that causes two men to break a friendship of years' standing. And for the excellent plot development of this triangular drama too much praise cannot be given the director and players who entered so well into the spirit of the piece. Alice Joyce, as Cecelie, the flower girl, displayed her ability as an actress of feeling and restraint, and was at all times rarely beautiful and charming. Miss Joyce always gives a sincere and sympathetic portrayal, and as Cecelie she has added another delightful characterization. Marc MacDermott suggested the French artist both in manner and action, and at all times acted with understanding of the role. Robert Walker gave an excellent performance in a rather unsympathetic role. Minor parts were well taken by Edith Spear and Katherine Lewis.

When John Drena married, he declared eternal friendship for his lifelong companion, Jack Graylock. So it was without fear that he entrusted his butterfly wife in Jack's care while he completed a state of great importance. But temptation proved too strong for Jack and he and his friend's wife depart for Nice, where they live together a few months--unknown to Drena.

At the carnival at Nice, Drena's wife is killed, and he returns sorrowfully to Paris, followed by Jack, who had meanwhile become deeply in love with a flower girl of great beauty, Cecelie. Cecelie comes to Paris, too, and inadvertently reveals Jack's past relations with Mrs. Drena. Drena vows revenge and informs Jack that he will force Cecelie to love him and will then treat her as Jack had treated his wife. But upon Jack's promise to kill himself to save Cecelie from such a fate, Drena relents and promises to marry Cecelie the day of Jack's death. But upon finding himself truly in love with the flower girl, Drena wishes to free Jack from his oath. But Jack, though not mortally wounded, had shot himself. However, upon hearing of Jack's chances for recovery, Drena, no longer feeling himself a murderer, asks Cecelie to marry him and happiness is restored at last.

There were some beautiful and elaborate scenes showing Nice at carnival time that will prove of interest to audiences. As a whole, "A Woman Between Friends" should prove an attractive box-office feature. Exhibitors should advertise the stars, Alice Joyce and Marc MacDermott.


Reviews from Moving Picture World

February 16, 1918

"Vitagraph Presents, as a Blue Ribbon Feature Alice Joyce and Marc McDermott in a Screen Adaptation of Robert W. Chambers' Novel, Between Friends.

Cecelie, the flower girl Alice Joyce
Herbert Drene Marc MacDermott
Jack Gaylord Robert Walker
Jack Gaylord Robert Walker
Cecelie's father Bernard Siegel
Herbert Drene's wife Edith Speare
Cecelie's sister Florence McCafferty

The Story: Drene is a sculptor who is completing his masterpiece with his wife for his model. Gaylord, his friend, has won and discarded the wife, and he now turns to Cecelie, the flower girl, who loves Drene. Cecelie has seen Gaylord and Mrs. Drene together and supposes from their actions that they are man and wife. Mrs. Drene's dress catches fire at a street fete and Drene's grief reveals their relationship to Cecelie, whose knowledge of the unworthiness of the wife is discovered by Drene. He vows to be avenged by Gaylord's death, but Cecelie averts a tragedy and brings peace to both

February 23, 1918

Excellent Vitagraph Blue Ribbon Feature Released February 11, Starring Alice Joyce and Marc MacDermott.
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel.

ROBERT W. CHAMBERS is the author of "The Woman Between Friends," a five-part Vitagraph Blue Ribbon Feature directed by Tom Terries and starring Alice Joyce and Marc MacDermott. The picture is excellent in every respect. It is consistently dramatic in story, has variety of scene, convincing local color, intelligent direction ,and a thoroughly capable cast. Artist life in Paris furnishes the background, and the plot is highly romantic.

The friends of the story are John Drene, a sculptor, and Jack Graylock, a painter. Both men swear eternal friendship on the night before Drene's marriage. Later on the artist runs away with the sculptor's wife. The couple tire of each other, and the woman becomes an outcast. Then Graylock falls honestly in love with a flower girl, one of those sweetly innocent young women found in romance of the Chambers school Her name is Cecelie, and she follows the painter back to Paris. He installs her with the housekeeper of the studios where he lives, and introduces her to Drene, who is at once inspired to employ her as the model for a half completed statue posed by his wife.

Drene, who was present when the runaway woman paid for her folly be being accidentally burned to death, has never suspected his friend, but Cecelie unintentionally betrays him. Drene is filled with a determination to kill Graylock at once. He then concludes that this would not be sufficient punishment, and informs the artist that on a certain day he must shoot himself or be killed. As a further revenge, Drene makes up his mind to wind Cecelie away from Graylock. He starts to put his plan in operation, not knowing that the girl has already fallen in love with him. Her gentleness and devotion soften his heart toward his one time friend, and he tries to prevent Graylock from carrying out the compact. The artist fires the shot as agreed, but only wounds himself, and Drene finds peace and happiness with Cecelie.

Alice Joyce has never done anything better than her playing of the flower girl, whose wistful gentleness and appealing beauty just suit her personality. Marc MacDermott as John Drene, Robert Walker as Jack Graylock, Edith Speare as Drene's wife, and Katherine Lewis as Cecelie's sister are the other names on the program.

Review from Motion Picture Classic, May 1918 (thanks to Randy Bigham for this review)

Frederick James Smith, "The Celluloid Critic,"
"...The sheer beauty of Alice Joyce makes us forgive The Woman Between Friends . I offer the glimpses of The Joyce in her robes of an art model as the pleasantest optical moments of the month. The photoplay tells the story of two friends, one of whom marries. The wife runs away with the other, the husband never learning the identity of the man in the case. A model, by chance, reveals the name of the false friend, and the other demands that the guilty one commit suicide on the anniversary of the woman's disappearance. The villain attempts suicide but doesn't die. The other man forgives him -- and marries the model. Marc MacDermott and Robert Walker play the friends. The story, by Robert W. Chambers, is Chambers as his "Cosmopolitanest." But Miss Joyce is admirably sympathetic and -- there's no other way of saying it -- darned restful to a tired movie eye..."

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Last revised August 27, 2005