Allan Dwan

Sog.: dal racconto omonimo di Arthur Stringer. Scen.: Frank Tuttle. F.: Hal Rosson. M.: William LeBaron, Julian Johnson. Int.: Gloria Swanson (Tessie McGuire), Tom Moore (Jimmy Hogan), Lilyan Tashman (Pinkie Doran), Ian Keith (Robert Brandt), Arthur Housman (Chip Thorndyke), Paul McAllister (Paul Garretson), Frank Morgan (Arno Riccardi), M. Collosse (Bippo), Marie Shelton (modella), Carrie Scott (la padrona di casa). Prod.: Adolph Zukor, Jesse L. Lasky per Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. Pri. pro.: 4 agosto 1924 DCP. D.: 58′. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Stories of girls let loose among the lecherous moneyed classes had provided grist for American films since the days of Edison and Biograph and some were outstanding, like Maurice Tourneur’s Trilby (1915) with Clara Kimball Young, but seldom had the story been presented with such believable situations and realistic touches. The picture was thought up by Paramount sales chief Sidney Kent, who noticed that the Hays Office forbade something called ‘manhandling’. He suggested it as a title for the next Dwan Swanson picture, asking for a story to justify it from Arthur Stringer, who wrote it as a short story for the “Saturday Evening Post”. The scenario was assigned to Frank Tuttle, who altered the character of Tess from a well brought-up girl with lines like ‘How dare you maul me like that! Why can’t you be a sport?’ to the lonely shopgirl deeply in love with Hogan. Dwan suggested Gloria find out what a salegirl’s life was like by working (in slight disguise) at a big department store: when someone from the studio recognised her and called out her name, there was pandemonium […] Dwan was startled to learn that she had never been on the subway. “There’s a thing in New York called the Shuttle. It runs between Grand Central Station and Times Square. It is always tightly packed and I figured just the right hour of night when it would be really jammed. So we got on to this shuttle and when we got to Times Square, I sneaked off. Now she had no money on her, and only this working girl’s costume. And back she went to Grand Central. Now she can’t find me, so back she comes to Times Square. By this time she’s in a complete panic…” When she finally found him, she gave Dwan hell, but he pointed out that she needed to know what subways were like. The famous scene was imitated by such pictures as Subway Sadie (1926) and Rush Hour (1927). Frank Tuttle watched Dwan on the  set: “He embellished my script with surefire directorial touches”. “It  is  seldom  that a picture reaches the screen with the humanities, the realities and the humor which this story contains” wrote Laurence Reid in “Motion Picture Magazine”. “It is another feather in the cap of Allan Dwan, who demonstrates again his gift for catching the subtle sparks and showing life as a blending of the comic and serious”. “Pretty inferior stuff as dramatic literature” said “Photoplay”, “but you will forget all that in Miss Swanson’s absorbing work. She does a Charlie Chaplin imitation that will really surprise you and has several really moving moments.  Incidentally, the story is sexy plus”. Swanson’s imitation of Chaplin was cut from this version when Kodascope abridged the film from seven reels to five. She reenacted her Chaplin impression twenty-five years later in Sunset Boulevard.

Kevin Brownlow

Copy From

Scanned at 2K from a 16mm positive print at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory