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Fedora (1918)

Fedora (1918) Famous Players-Lasky Corp. Distributor: Famous Players-Lasky Corp; Paramount Pictures. Presenter: Adolph Zukor. Director: Edward Jose. Scenario: Charles E. Whittaker. Camera, Hal Young and Ned Van Buren. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Alfred Hickman, Jere Austin, W.L. Abingdon, Wilmuth Merkyll. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST

Review from Variety
Review from the New York Times

Review from Variety, August 8, 1918

Princess Fedora Pauline Frederick
Gretch Alfred Hickman
Loris Ipanoff Jere Austin
General Zariskene W. L. Abingdon
Count Valdimir Androvitch Wilmuth Merkyll

The screen version of Victorien Sardou's "Fedora," made by Paramount, has been altered. The final scene in which the Princess Fedora commits suicide by taking poison has been altered to the conventional "clinch'--Count Ipanoff returning in time to prevent Fedora from swallowing the concoction and taking her in his arms in full forgiveness for having been the direct cause of the untimely death of his mother and brother. A statement from Paramount is to the effect that the alteration was made in keeping with the promise made by Jesse Lasky to exhibitors that unnecessary tragic and distressing scenes would be eliminated from Paramount and Artcraft pictures for the duration of the war.

If Mr. Lasky has allocated to himself the revision of standard classics we may confidently look for a happy culmination to the love affair of between Romeo and his fair Juliet and so on. When you stop to think about it, isn't it a rather foolish thing for a film manufacturer to rewrite a Sardou play? That great playwright gave to the world a wonderful play in "Fedora." In framing it he led up to a big climax, the enactment of which contributed in no small measure to the fame of Sarah Bernhardt. Yet at one fell swoop our own Jesse Lasky chooses to alter the ending for what he conceives to be more popular appeal. If it really be necessary at this time to have less "tragic and distressing scenes," wouldn't it perhaps be wiser to defer the filming of Sardou tragedies and the like until such time as we shall be able to assimilate them as picture features?

The alteration in the ending of the tragedy is all the more deplorable from the fact that Paramount offers an otherwise splendid presentation of the famous Russian drama, while Pauline Frederick in a role in every way suited to her statuesque beauty. The costuming and atmosphere gives one a complete sense witnessing the genuine thing in the matter of locale. Step by step--or rather scene by scene--there is a careful and painstaking adherence to detail that is more than commendable.

The only possible unfavorable criticism with the cast would seem to be that Jere Austin as Count Ipanoff lacked the necessary "class" for the depiction of a Russian gentleman of the royal set. The absence of finesse was quite noticeable in his portrayal of the role.

One of these days Paramount will reissue its "Fedora" production with the logical ending designed by its illustrious author


Review from The New York Times, August 5, 1918

Pauline Frederick does some of her best emotional work in an adaptation of Sardou's "Fedora" at the Realto. By the familiar method of tediously postponing explanations necessary for the termination of the play, the production is strung out for the usual number of reels. The Rialto program includes some beautiful views of Ausable Chasm released by the Ford company.

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Last revised, September 16, 2005