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The Fear Woman (1919)

The Fear Woman (1919) Goldwyn Pictures Corp. Distributor: Goldwyn Distributing Corp. Presenter: Samuel Goldwyn. Director: John A. Barry. Scenario: Izola Forrester. Camera: Edward Gheller. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Milton Sills, Walter Hiers, Emmett King, Harry S. Northrup, Ernest Pasque, Beverly Travers, Lydia Yeamans Titus. Woman refuses to marry for fear of inheriting and passing on her father's alcoholism. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST

Pauline seems to have received a disturbing message.
(Thanks to Shawn Stone for this picture)
The Fear Woman

Fictionalization which appeared in Motion Picture Classic (issue unknown, lacks the end)

The Fear Woman The Fear Woman The Fear Woman The Fear Woman
Click on thumbnails for larger view

Review from Variety
Review from Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, July 11, 1919

Helen Winthrop Pauline Frederick
Robert Craig Milton Sills
Percy Farwell Walter Hiers
Harrison Winthrop Emmett King
Sidney Scarr Harry S. Northrup
Bruce Terhune Ernest Pasque
Stella Scarr Beverly Travers
Mrs. Honorah Farwell Lydia Yeamans Titus

Looks like Goldwyn lost the race with prohibition in the releasing of the latest Pauline Frederick starring feature entitled "The Fear Woman." The story is by Izola Forrester and the theme is the "curse of drink." The production is the work of John A. Barry as director. The entire plot hinges on the fact that Miss Frederick is afraid to marry the man of her choice because she fears that she has inherited a taste for strong likker. But with the country gone dry why need the girl fear a heritage of that nature? Outside of that the picture is rather an interesting, if poorly assembled, feature. With Miss Frederick as the drawing card there seems to be no reason why it should not attract patronage.

The story is simple enough. Miss Frederick plays Helen Winthrop, wealthy and about to be married. Father likes his booze and on the night that his daughter's engagement is announced he takes a little too much, does a stair fall, and fades out of the picture for all time. He has left a note to the daughter to be opened in the event of his death and in it he relates the failing of the Winthrop's of the past four generations have had for the cup that cheers.

Because she fears that she may transmit the same desire to her offspring she breaks off the engagement. Her fiance takes a trip to the oil fields, and she visits friends. The husband in this household neglects his wife for business and the wife falls for a young fellow, who the titles states is an artist with the women. She is in his rooms one night when Miss Winthrop learns of the fact and hurries there in time to shield the wife when the husband arrives. The story of the affair "gets out" and Miss Winthrop is socially ostracized which causes her to leave the town.

At a beach resort she runs into a family that has lately stepped into the heavy dough class through the discovery of oil on the "old farm." It is just mother and son and the latter is the apple of the old lady's eye. He falls for the Winthrop girl and starts to give her a chase, which causes mother to call in the family attorney. With the usual picture coincidence he is the same attorney jilted by Miss Winthrop. Just as naturally, as far as pictures go, there is a reconciliation and the usual catch-as-catch-can at the finish.

There are times when the story seems a little vague, but eventually these little off-shoots from the plot proper are accounted for.

In sets the picture abounds in showing that money has been spent lavishly and there are some very pretty exteriors. A tennis match is handled effectively from a photographic standpoint. There is also a shot taken through a closed window showing an automobile and two people getting into the car that is a little different from the usual run.

Miss Frederick handles her role most convincingly, especially in one scene when she clinches with her leading man and kisses him. Milton Sills is the leading man. Walter Hiers plays the young oil-can of the gusher millions and gets a lot of comedy out of it. Lydia Yeamans Titus, as his mother, handled the character role very well.

The Fear Woman will get by with any audience.


Review from Moving Picture World

July 19, 1919

"The Fear Woman"
A timely Goldwyn Production Presenting Pauline Frederick in the Title Role.
Reviewed by Louis Reeves Harrison.

The fear in this case is that of a nervous young woman, admirably portrayed by Pauline Frederick, who is engaged to marry a devoted suitor, but who is reluctant to perpetuate the habit of alcoholic indulgence for which her father's family has been notorious during several generations, which she is convinced will afflict his descendants, though she has no appetite of that kind. "The Fear Woman" may be called timely. It admits of powerful treatment. The story starts out with that in view. Miss Frederick capably depicts a young woman horrified by the death of her father from an accident brought about by drunkenness, and she is effective when she dismisses the guests just before her wedding ceremony, because she has seen a pitiful drunken woman from her window. Thereafter the actress has limited opportunity. The mood of the story changes about, interest flagging when the heroine rescues a young wife from a compromising situation, and falling rapidly off when some comedy characters, a vulgar rich woman and her fat son, are introduced, along with a tennis tournament, neither having anything of direct importance to do with solving the heroine's problem, not only a complete change of mood, dangerous enough in itself, but sidetracking the theme itself.

Helen Winthrop Pauline Frederick
Robert Craig Milton Sills
Percy Farwell Walter Hiers
Harrison Winthrop Emmett King
Sidney Scarr Harry S. Northrup
Bruce Terhune Ernest Pasque
Stella Scarr Beverly Travers
Mrs. Honorah Farwell Lydia Yeamans Titus

Story by Izola Forrester.
Directed by John A. Barry.
Photographed by Edward Gheller

The Story:
The Fear Woman is Helen Winthrop, and the cause is her father's habit of getting drunk. He is intoxicated on the occasion of announcing his daughter's engagement to Robert Craig. He ascends to his room for a couple of extra hookers, loses his balance coming down and falls to his death. Helen is impressed that she should not marry for fear of handing down this tendency, but her nervous fears are quieted later on.

On the eve of marrying Craig, when the guests are all assembled, she sees a drunken woman from her window and is so horrified that she bids her guests leave, offering no explanation of her sudden change of mind. She then dismisses Craig. He protests he will always love her, even though she "acted like a fool," and she goes to visit a young married woman, Mrs. Scarr. Helen saves Mrs. Scarr from the disgrace of being found in the rooms of Bruce Terhune by getting there before the husband arrives.

Helen, now under a cloud herself, goes to a hotel, plays tennis and flirts with the fat son of wealthy parvenu, who disapproves of her son marrying a woman under a could and sends for her lawyer, none other than Craig. Helen induces the fat suitor to announce his engagement to her to torment the faithful Craig, and even pretends to get drunk before his eyes, only to tell him in the end that "love" has cured her of all fear, and he is restored to her arms.

Program and Advertising Phrases: Exquisite Pauline Frederick in Highly Emotional Role of a Woman Who Feared the Result of Alcoholic Craving.
What Was the All-Absorbing Soul-Blanching Fear That Caused Her to Dismiss the Man She Loved? "The Fear Woman" Will Tell You.
Wonderful Story of Modern Society Life Based on the Fear of An Inherited Craving for Alcohol.
How a Woman Through the Influence of Love Finally Overcame a Fear That Had Gripped Her Soul and Almost Wrecked Her Life.

Advertising Angles: Play on the star rather than on the story and for the latter angle take the theme rather than the story itself. Work with such lines as "Can the women of America make prohibition unnecessary.? "Can the drink demon be crushed through birth control?" Add to the question enough hint of the story to show the connection, but do not offer the plot.

Advertising Aids: One one-sheet Two three-sheets, one six and one 24 sheet. Rotogravure one-sheet. Lobby displays, 8x10, 11x14 and 22x28. Coming and current slides. Advertising and scene cuts.

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Last revised, December 25, 2008