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Out of the Shadow (1919)

Out of the Shadow (1919) Famous Players-Lasky Corp. Distributor: Famous Players-Lasky Corp; Paramount Pictures. Presenter: Adolph Zukor. Director: Emile Chautard. Asst. Director: Al Lena. Scenario: Eve Unsell. Camera: Jacques Bizeul. Cast: Pauline Frederick, Wyndham Standing, Ronald Byram, William Gross, Emma Campbell, Nancy Hathaway, Agnes Wakefield, Jack W. Johnson, Syn De Conde, Henry Heaton, William T. Hayes, Catherine Thomas, W. Harcourt, Harry Kosher. 5 reels. This film appears to be LOST

A poster for Out of the Shadow
(Thanks to David Menefee)
Out of the Shadow poster
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Review from Variety
Reviews from Moving Picture World
Review from the New York Times

Review from Variety, January 17, 1919

Ruth Minchin Pauline Frederick
Richard Steel Wyndham Standing
Edward Landholm Robert Byram
Rev. Woodgate William Gross
Mrs. Woodgate Emma Campbell
Mrs. Vanables Nancy Hathaway

Will someone please explain why a film concern will pay thousands of dollars for the picture rights to a good story and then make of it a conventional photoplay? Is it possible they think the public wants the regulation routine in plots, and if so, are they correct in their judgment? Should this be the case, why then buy picture rights to plays or novels?

In the case of "Out of the Shadow," the name of the novel wasn't even retained, so that the argument cannot be set up that Paramount was paying for the advertised value of the name. Matter of fact, it is one of E.W. Hornung's least known novels. Its name is "The Shadow of the Rope," which give no indication of the denouement, and the title was probably deliberately concocted with that idea in mind.

A trade paper reviewer who sometimes takes himself seriously suggested the story for Pauline Frederick. Paramount secured it, and its scenarioizing was entrusted to Eve Unsell, with Emile Chautard as the director.

Novelist Hornung, the author of "Raffles,," is a proved and approved genius for concocting suspensive mystery plots. "The Shadow of the Rope" is a splendid example of his high-class craftsmanship. Miss Unsell has made of it a regulation photoplay, with no suspense and as much of the mystery as was possible to delete, leading up to the inevitable "clinch." There is never a question in the mind of the spectator as to the outcome. All the fine mystery, romance and suspense has been cast aside, and even the brilliant dialog of the author replaced by commonplace photoplay bromides, such as one would expect to hear in an old-fashioned melodrama. The novel, on the contrary, started off with a most absorbing murder mystery, the unraveling of which, as worked out, cannot possibly be foreseen until the very last pages. The betting would been at least 100 to 1 that a seasoned plot expert couldn't guess the ending.

Director Chautard has exercised little imagination in creating the proper atmosphere, but was undoubtedly handicapped by the uninspired scenario. Paramount, contrary to its usual custom, seems to have stinted in production expenditure, and the cast acted as listlessly as a cheap stock company on the closing night of a disastrous season with salaries in arrears. Miss Frederick had little to do worthy of her talents, and the work of no other member of the cast is worthy of individual comment.

"Out of the Shadow" is a keen disappointment to anyone who has read "The Shadow of the Rope."


Reviews from Moving Picture World

January 18, 1919

Adolph Zukor Presents Pauline Frederick in a Story of a Murder Which Marked Many Lives

Ruth Minchin Pauline Frederick
Richard Steel Wyndham Standing
Edward Langholm Ronald Byram
Rev. Woodgate William Gross
Mrs. Woodgate Emma Campbell
Mrs. Vanables Nancy Hathaway
Richard Steel's Aunt Agnes Wakefield
Gabriel Minchin Jack W. Johnson
Severino Syn De Conte
Directed by Emile Chautard.

The Story: Ruth Minchin is unhappily married to her father's former business partner--a drunken brute. She contracts a friendship for Severino, a pianist, who lives in the same apartment house, and Minchin, discovering them together, orders the pianist from the room and knocks his wife down. Severino kills Minchin in a delirium following pneumonia, and Ruth is suspected of the crime. She is befriended by Richard Steel, who knew Minchin in Australia, but Steele is also suspected of the murder, and she cannot marry the man who killed her husband, but she recalls the encounter with Severino and, under pressure, the pianist confesses, clearing the mystery and their road to happiness.

Feature: Pauline Frederick as Ruth Minchin and Wyndham Standing as Richard Street.

Program and Advertising Phrases: Pauline Frederick Star of Screenplay Based on Ernest W. Horung's [sic] Novel, "The Shadow of the Rope."
Something to Think About With States Voting on Prohibition Amendment.
Mystery Story Baffling the Plot-Detectives Has Fine Moral.
Photoplay of Continued Thrills and Sensations for Screen-Fans.
Intensely Dramatic Screenplay With Gripping "Heart Interest."

Advertising Angles: Make appeal to Miss Frederick's following. For the story, work on the mystery angle of a woman, herself suspected of her husband's murder, suspecting the man she loves of the crime. Tell that it is a story by E.W. Hornung, creator of "Raffles" and "Stingaree." Work this angle heavily.

Advertising Aids: Two each one, three and six-sheets. One 24-sheet. Lobby displays, 8x10, 11x14, 22x28. Cuts from one to three columns on star and production. Advertising layout mats. Slides. Press book.
Released January 3.

January 25, 1919

Paramount Release Which Gives Pauline Frederick Opportunity for Some Exceptionally Fine Interpretation of Motive and Character.
Reviewed by Louis Reeves Harrison.

Every actress has to await her opportunity, and that of Pauline Frederick has not yet come, but there are indications of what she could accomplish in the remarkably fine interpretation of character she gives in the story of a woman falsely accused of murdering her husband. The falsely-accused story and that stale solution, the guilty man's confession, loses heavily in the matter of audience interest from being more or less of a foregone conclusion, but it is handled with more skill in this case, with enough constructive cleverness to shield the only element of suspense--"who's guilty?" It is interesting on this account, on account also of some exceptionally fine treatment as to picturesque exteriors and largely on account of Miss Frederic's fascinating presentation of a human being in the torture of crimination and social recrimination. The woman she depicts without pantomime or exaggeration of movement, simply by psychology, has her heart and mind almost laid bare to the audience.

The woman accused of murdering her husband is acquitted by the jury, but a newspaper has formed public opinion against her, and she is sent to a country place by a wealthy young man who has taken an interest in her case. She is followed by a reporter intent on making a "scoop" and the country house becomes the scene of strange discoveries, involving her young benefactor. He is arrested for the same murder, and the woman who has just felt the sting of injustice does him the injustice of believing him guilty. He is not saved by any effort of his own, but by the confession of a young musician who admired her and hated her husband. That this young man should confess to murder, not for her sake, but for the sake of a man she has come to love, is far from convincing. It feebly concludes a play whose suspense, admirable treatment and splendid acting have promised much. The fine qualities of the product will carry it over to strong audience interest.

Review from The New York Times, January 13, 1919

The Rialto program includes "Out of the Shadow," in which Pauline Frederick, Wyndham Standing, and Ronald Byram appear to advantage under the direction of Emile Chautard; "The Woods of Paris," released by the Educational Films Corporation, under which title are shown some fascinating scenes in color of Dutch children, as well as views around the French capital, and "A photoplay Magazine Little Journey in Filmland," which shows stars of the screen at work and off duty.

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Last revised, September 17, 2005