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Her Only Way (1918)

Her Only Way (1918) Norma Talmadge Film Corporation/Select Pictures Corporation. Presented by Joseph Schenck. Directed by Sidney A. Franklin. Scenario by Mary Murillo. Camera by Albert Moses and Ed Wynard. Cast: Norma Talmadge, Eugene O'Brien, Ramsey Wallace, E.A. Warren, Jobyna Howland. 6 reels. According to the American Silent Feature Film Database, this film is held at the Archives du Film du CNC at Bois d'Arcy with no details given.

View a coming attraction slide for this film from the George Eastman House

Review from Variety
Review from the New York Times
Review from Moving Picture World
Review from Moving Picture Classic

Review from Variety, August 23, 1918

Her Only Way.

Lucille Westbrook Norma Talmadge
Joseph Marshall Eugene O'Brien
Paul Belmont Ramsey Wallace
Judge Hampton Bates E.A. Warren
Mrs. Randolph Jobyna Howland

No expense has been spared in staging this Select production, featuring Norma Talmadge, who is supported by a small but well balanced cast, which includes Eugene O'Brien as leading man. The picture is in six reels and was exhibited privately.

The film has been built around Miss Talmadge. But "dream" pictures are never entirely satisfactory. Miss Talmadge has appeared to better advantages in any number of her previous efforts.

"Her Only Way" is a society drama with Lucille Westbrook (Miss Talmadge) in the old, old position of a girl just out of a boarding school forced to make a wealthy marriage to save her estate from ruin. Urged by her guardian to accept Paul Belmont (Ramsey Wallace) who promises to restore her estate, Lucille is torn between what she considers her duty to her father and her love for Joseph Marshall (Mr. O'Brien) poor, with no prospects.

The following day Belmont proposes to her and she tells him she will give him his answer at 8 o'clock that night. As he leaves Marshall comes to see her and they have a squabble and he is dismissed. Lucille, after those two exciting experiences the same day, throws herself on a lounge and immediately falls asleep. The remainder of the story is her dream. In the sixth reel she awakes and again both men ask her to marry. She accepts Marshall.

The photography includes a number of handsome interiors, beautiful rustic and picturesque water scenes. The play is well directed and capable support is given the principals by the other members of the cast.

Review from the New York Times, May 20, 1918

"Her Only Way," with Norma Talmadge in the leading role, heads the bill at the Rialto and is fairly entertaining as movies go, though the attempt of the author to supply the element of tragedy and yet accomplish a happy ending makes it the purest theatrical trash. Miss Talmadge, however, does well with what she has to do.

Ag 19, 1918, 7:1

Review from Moving Picture World, August 31, 1918

Norma Talmadge's Latest Select Picture is a Dream Story That Entertains
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel

George Scarborough is the author of "Her Only Way," a Select picture directed by Sidney Franklin, scenario by Mary Murillo. Norma Talmadge has the leading role. The story belongs to the ancient and honorable order of dream plays. They have always had a large and enthusiastic following, and "Her Only Way" is a worthy example of its class. It also has the very great advantage of Norma Talmadge's sincere acting. The story possesses little that is new, but with the aid of the dream device it has several effective dramatic scenes, and the happy ending which follows the heroine's awakening is like the sunshine after the storm.

The part played by Norma Talmadge is called Lucille Westbrook a young girl reared in wealth and refinement, who is told by her guardian that her father left hardly any money when he died and that the home where she has always lived must be sold. Lucille loved Joseph Marshall, a man of little means but ambitious and able. She is also courted by Paul Belmont, who is weak morally but has a large bank account.

Influenced by her desire to save the property and her pique at a remark made by Marshall, the heroine decides to accept Belmont. While she is waiting for him to come for his answer she falls asleep and dreams she has become his wife. The experience is so unpleasant that she wakes up in terror of the man and gives him a determined refusal when he does arrive. In her dream Belmont neglects her for a fascinating widow and the pair plot to ruin her good name. Lucille is compromised with Marshall and her husband forces her into the divorce court. False witnesses swear away her reputation and Lucille follows her husband and kills him by a shot from a revolver.

At this point she wakes up. Lucille is so relieved to find that she has not made the mistake of marrying Belmont she settles the matter forever by accepting Marshall when he comes back to apologize for his remark.

Eugene O'Brien is a manly and earnest Joseph Marshall and Ramsey Wallace gives a finished impersonation of Paul Belmont. E.A. Warren and Jobyna Howland are excellent representatives of Judge Bates and Mrs. Randolph. The cameramen were Albert Moses and Ed Weynard.

Review from Motion Picture Classic, November, 1918, p. 78, by Frederick James Smith, "The Celluloid Critic" [Thanks to Randy Bigham for this review]

"... Norma Talmadge's Her Only Way (Select), adapted from a stage play by George Scarborough, is pretty trite and conventional -- the old, old dream idea again. The star plays Lucille Westbrook, raised in luxury but now without funds. She is divided between marrying a rich suitor, Belmont, and a young lawyer, Marshall. She marries Belmont, is extremely unhappy, and is finally 'framed' with false evidence in a divorce suit by her husband. She shoots and kills Belmont but then awakens, of course, since tragedies aren't the thing on the silverscreen. Naturally she rejects Belmont and marries the poor but honest lawyer, who will obviously be the next district attorney. Miss Talmadge is aquiring a touch or two of avoirdupois. Her Lucille Westbrook is not anywhere near her best work. Ramsay Wallace gives rather a dull performance of Belmont and Eugene O'Brien presents a graphic depiction of Eugene O'Brien as the lawyer. Her Only Way runs turgidly through six reels. Why will producers attempt dream plays? The trick finish invariably destroys the realism of all that has gone before..."

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Last revised, January 5, 2018