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Her Better Self (1917)

Her Better Self (1917) Famous Players Film Co. Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corp. Director: Robert G. Vignola. Asst. director: William Scully. Story: Margaret Turnbull. Camera, Ned Van Buren. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Thomas Meighan, Alice Hollister, Maude Turner Gordon, Charles Wellesley, Frank De Rheim, Armand Cortez. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST

Review from Variety
Reviews from Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, May 25, 1917

Vivian Tyler Pauline Frederick
Robert Keith Thomas Meighan
Aggie May Alice Hollister
Mrs. Van Puster Tyler Maude Turner Gordon
Mr. Tyler Charles Wellesley
Count Belloto Frank De Rheim
"Dopey" Armand Cortez

A rather weak vehicle for Pauline Frederick is "Her Better Self," written by Margaret Turnbull and directed by G. Vignola for the Famous Players (Paramount). There is absolutely no punch to the story and the star does not have an opportunity to display herself to advantage any time during the unraveling of the tale. Miss Turnbull has developed a story of society and the underworld, by having her heroine a debutante who is to marry a title and her hero a young musician who is devoting all his energies to the betterment of the conditions of the hordes that live in the slum districts. The society girl falls in love with the doctor, passes up the title and the finish finds hero and heroine at the marriage license bureau. There are complications, in the form of a misunderstanding as to the attitude of the doctor toward a girl that he takes from the night court and treats at his hospital. The society girl, on hearing the confession of the girl, believes that it was the doctor who was responsible for the downfall of the girl, but when the girl commits suicide and the doctor is arrested and charged with having killed her. The society girl witnessed the suicide and finally comes to his rescue, despite the fact that it is going to cause her a lot of unwelcome publicity. There are a number of minor details in the direction of the picture that are at fault. For instance, a plain clothes man cannot walk up to a woman of the streets and arrest her just because she is of the streets. She must commit a crime first and he must either be the one she solicits or must overhear her approach someone else before he can take her into custody. There are number of little flaws of this sort. The general lighting of the picture is good and two court scenes are very well done. The name of the star will be sufficient to attract business, but the picture is not one the public is going to rave about


Reviews from Moving Picture World

April 28, 1917

"Her Better Self" a Tragedy of Strength
Reviewed by George Blaisdell.

In "Her Better Self," the Famous Players release for May 21, we have the antithesis of the preceding Paramount release. [The Highway of Hope, reviewed just previously]. This is a story of the East, of New York; of surrounding as comfortable as money can procure, of men and women in conventional garb. It is a striking contrast to its predecessor. What is of more importance, it is a strong story and also it is finely staged. Robert Vignola has produced the script from the pen of Margaret Turnbull.

Pauline Frederick is seen in the role of a well-to-do young woman who, following her engagement to a count, becomes interested in the charity work of a doctor or in him personally--each may make his own guess as to that. With him she goes to a hospital to learn of nursing, she visits the Night Court, and for him, to save his life, she enters a court of higher jurisdiction. It is a straight characterization of a very straight young woman of the social world. It is a strong characterization, too, of a quality for which Miss Frederick is notable.

Opposite Miss Frederick is Thomas Meighan in the role of the doctor. The work of this player grows in strength. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that as one becomes better acquainted with his work there is a corresponding increase of the regard in which it is held. Mr. Meighan has a wholesomeness, a naturalness about his that is refreshing.

[Omitted, photo of Frederick entering a room where a woman is clinging to Meighan. Caption: Scene from "Her Better Self" (Famous Players)

The Aggie May of Alice Hollister furnishes the drab side of this story of metropolitan life. The portrayal of the woman of the street by this veteran screen player is finely done. Charles Wellesley and Maud Turner Gordon as the Tylers are competent representatives of the urban family.

"Her Better Self" is a good picture of new York life. One of the notable factors is the fidelity with which Director Vignola adheres to life in his staging of the two courtrooms. We are told of the setting of the higher court was a faithful reproduction of one of the rooms in the Criminal Courts Building. It well may be. The interiors of the Tyler home, too, are striking. Ned Van Buren, the photographer, has secured many fine lighting effects. His work stands out all through the picture.

June 2, 1917

HER BETTER SELF (Famous Players--Five Parts--May 21)--The cast: Vivian Tyler (Pauline Frederick); Robert Keith (Thomas Meighan); Aggie May (Alice Hollister); Mrs. Van Puster Tyler (Maude Turner Gordon); Mr. Tyler (Charles Wellesley); Count Bellote (Frank De Rheim); "Dopey" (Armand Cortez).

Vivian Tyler is a spoiled daughter of wealthy parents who are trying to persuade her to marry Baron Belloto. Young Dr. Keith, an enthusiastic charity worker, comes to their house for dinner one evening for the purpose of getting a handsome subscription. There he meets Vivian and the two are attracted to each other. The man, however, realizing the difference in their lives, tells her that they can never marry, as she could not endure even a week of his life

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Last revised, September 16, 2005