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The Crown Prince's Double (1916)

The Crown Prince's Double (1916) Directed by Van Dyke Brooke, Scenario by Anne Mahring. Cast: Maurice Costello, Norma Talmadge, Howard Hall, Anders Randolf, Thomas R. Mills, Thomas Brooke, Daniel Leighton, Anna Laughlin, Leila Blau. 5 reels. This film is LOST

This film was Talmadge's last for Vitagraph. Talmadge played the girlfriend of Barry Lawrence, the American double. The film opened in New York on December 26, 1915, but didn't go into general release until 1916. Release may have been delayed, since Talmadge's first two films after leaving Vitagraph, Captivating Mary Carstairs and The Missing Links, were released first.

Review from Variety
Review from the Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, January 7, 1916


King Gustav Howard Hall
Crown Prince Oscar Maurice Costello
Barry Lawrence Maurice Costello
Shirley Rives Norma Talmadge
Baron Hagar Anders Randolf
Isabelle Anna Laughlin
Peter Hart Thomas R. Mills
Minister of State Thom Brooke

Very much "Beverly of Graustark," "Prisoner of Zenda" and "Rupert of Hentzau" all rolled into one and a little of "Such a Little Queen" added for good measure, and you have "The Crown Prince's Double," a five-part Blue Ribbon feature of the Vitagraph Co. which is to be released through the V-L-S-E. Gilbert Patten is credited with being the author of the story, while the picturization has been worked out by Anne Mahring and produced under the direction of Van Dyke Brooke. King Gustav (Howard Hall) of Ostrau has decided that his son shall wed the princess of a neighboring monarchy. The plans are all laid and the Prince has expressed his willingness. But the populace of the little kingdom are on the verge of a revolution and before the wedding takes place the uprising occurs and both father and son are forced to flee for their lives. Later the settle in London, where the son becomes infatuated with a burlesque actress. The father, becoming aware of his son's affair, decides to send him to America with Peter Hart, a young American who has formed a friendship with the father and son. On their arrival here Oscar falls in love with Hart's sister, Isabelle, and the two elope. The Crown Prince cables to his father the glad tidings and they arrive just at the moment when Baron Hagar is telling His Majesty that the populace of Ostrau have decided they want him to again become their ruler. The Baron is sent to America to force the Crown Prince to have his marriage annulled and to return to his native land. Oscar and his wife, accompanied by her brother, flee from the spying of Baron Hagar and his associates. They arrive in New York and the brother sees Barry Lawrence, who is a double of the Crown Prince. He is a down-and-outer and is eager to accept the $1,000 offered him to go to the most prominent hotel in town and to register there. He does and the detectives mistake him for the Crown Prince. After much adventure in which the double foils the detectives, both he and the Crown Prince, through the medium of clever double exposure photography, appear before the Baron and the Prince advises him for once and all that he does not intend to return to his native land if he has to give up the woman he loves. Maurice Costello plays the double role of Crown Prince and the double and does it very well. The story is a rather romantic thriller that holds the interest, and with the American touch that has been supplied to the story by laying most of the action in New York, the picture should appeal as a feature. The photography is good and the direction all that could be asked for. Of the minor faults in the picture there are two that stand out glaringly. One, the receipt of a cablegram in London by the father, shows an ordinary American Postal cablegram blank and the other is the fact that there wasn't any door to the elevator in the hotel scene. There isn't a hotel in the world that would leave its elevator shaft wide open.


Review from Moving Picture World, February 5, 1916

THE CROWN PRINCE'S DOUBLE (Vitagraph--Five Parts--Feb. 7).--The cast: Prince Oscar of Ostrau and Barry Lawrence, a clerk (Maurice Costello) ; King Gustave (Howard Hall) ; Byron Hagar (Anders Randolf) ; Peter Hart (Thomas Mills) ; Minister of State (Thom Brooke) ; Detective Brennan (Daniel Leighton) ; Shirley Rives (Norma Talmadge) ; Isabelle Hart (Ana Laughlin) ; Mrs. Wilmerding (Leila Blau); Produced by Van Dyke Brooke.

Oscar, son of Gustave, King of Ostrau, is saved from a forced marriage by a revolution in the kingdom, and leaves for the United States, accompanied by Peter Hart, his American friend and advisor. In New York he meets Barry Lawrence, a young bookkeeper, out of a job through the rascally work of a fellow clerk and Prince Oscar's perfect double.

The prince has met and quietly married Isabelle, an American girl, and wishing to renounce his claim to the throne and become an American citizen, he changes identities with Barry. King Gustave learns of his son's marriage and, horrified, sends Baron Hagar, Chief of Police, to bring back Oscar, by force if necessary. Barry accordingly poses as the Prince in disguise, and takes up his abode in the Hotel St.Albans, and Hart, let into the secret, sets Baron Hagar's henchmen on Barry's trail. After some startling adventures, Barry, bewildered by it all, is kidnapped; likewise, Shirley, niece of Mrs. Wilmerding, a wealthy woman, the detective working on the case images she must be "the Prince's wife."

Barry escapes and accuses Hart of causing all his troubles; then sets out to rescue Shirley. Hagar arrives to interview Shirley, whom he supposes to be Isabelle, wife of Oscar, and is stunned to confront a stranger. Complications and surprises accumulate rapidly when Barry arrives, and immediately after him Oscar. Every one is astounded as the two men, dressed and looking exactly alike, meet face to face. Then explanations are made which result in the chagrin of the baffled Hagar, the uniting of Barry and Shirley, while Oscar-Prince no longer-proudly announces that his American citizenship papers and his American bride more than recompense him for the kingdom he has lost.

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Last revised, December 21, 2008