Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 A Danish Beauty

Beneath the Coat of a Butler, released on November 21, 1915, was followed on the 23rd by The Baby and the Boss, with Helen Badgley and Dave Keleher in the title roles. Keleher was a jack of all trades at the studio, with duties ranging from employment interviews to occasional acting, nearly always in bit parts.

November 27th saw the release of Valkyrie, a three-reel Than-O-Play featuring Valkyrien, better known as Baroness DeWitz, a Danish dancer who in 1914 had won a national prize for her classic Nordic beauty. A gushing description of her appeared in The Photoplay Magazine: Note "Behold a Danish girl, Valkyrien, whose yellow, gold-tipped hair reaches to her knees; her eyes are the deep blue of the Norse sea; her skin is like young ivory faint-flushed with rose-petal pink.... In stature she is a mean between Psyche and Venus; she has the solid, rounded outline of limb and figure of the ancients, combined with natural grace and nimbleness."

A commentary in Photoplay Journal Note was perhaps more realistic and stated that she had "a very composite nature, half child and half woman, with a dash of the devil; a product of nature corseted and booted by civilization, and ill at ease in our little social world, which she does not understand.... She does not understand people and things, and she cares not a tittle.... She is not a scholar, and hates study in any form. She is keenly musical and fond of art - all the fine arts - insofar as they mirror nature. She has no intellectual assets, as such, but she is naturally alert and quick-witted, though ignorant generally...."

Valkyrien had come to America in June 1914 at the instigation of film producer David Horsley, who had encountered her in her native country. By the time she was on the screen for Thanhouser, she had been seen in Centaur, Vitagraph, and Pluragraph films in America and, earlier, in Great Northern and Danish Biograph pictures in Europe. She was to work with Thanhouser intermittently through 1917.

Publicity concerning Valkyrie, her first Thanhouser picture, centered upon her beauty and is reminiscent of the advertising for Inspiration. As a film the production caused little interest among reviewers, with The Moving Picture World dismissing it as being of medium quality.

The month of November concluded with All Aboard, a one-reel comedy with Florence LaBadie, issued on the 28th, and The Crimson Sabre in two reels on the 30th.


Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.