Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 December Releases

The December release schedule began on the Thursday the 2nd with a Falstaff film, Checking Charlie's Child. Each Monday and Thursday thereafter saw an additional one-reel Falstaff comedy issued, including Minnie, the Mean Manicurist, Clarence Cheats at Croquet, The Conductor's Classy Champion, Bill Bunks the Bandits, When William's Whiskers Worked, Toodles, Tom and Trouble, Una's Useful Uncle, and Foolish Fat Flora. With the exception of The Moving Picture World, which commented favorably on nearly all Thanhouser's one-reel comedies, trade publications did not review these productions.

Regular Thanhouser films commenced in December with the release on the 5th of The House Party at Carson Manor, a one-reel detective story starring Morris Foster. His Vocation, billed as a circus drama, featured Grace DeCarlton and was issued in two reels on the 7th, followed by Her Confession, with Florence LaBadie, on the 12th. An Innocent Traitor, a two-reeler distributed on December 14th, featured the Thanhouser Twins.

The Mill on the Floss, a five-reel Mutual Masterpicture, was released on December 16th and featured Mignon Anderson, Harris Gordon, George Marlo, and Arthur Bauer in the cast. Taken from George Eliot's novel of the same name, the film was well reviewed, as was usually the case when Thanhouser derived a scenario from a well-known literary work. His Majesty, the King, a three-reel Than-O-Play issued on December 18th, featured infant Gerald Badgley in the title role. "This picture will be especially pleasing to the children," commented The Moving Picture World.

The Necklace of Pearls, a one-reel detective story released on December 19th, involved the disappearance aboard a transatlantic liner of a strand of pearls. A pivotal role was played by a cat. The Political Pull of John, a one-reel comedy issued on December 19th, was followed by Ambition, a three-reel Than-O-Play, on the 21st. Their Last Performance, a Than-O-Play released on December 28th, told of the lure and temptations of stage life in a scenario somewhat similar to Old Jane of the Gaiety released the preceding July. Over the years this was a familiar theme in various films, probably because Gertrude and Edwin Thanhouser could personally relate to the events depicted.

As the year 1915 drew to a close Edwin Thanhouser and his staff were busy with the opening of the Jacksonville studio. Meanwhile, the schedule of film production released through the Mutual Film Corporation included one-reel Falstaff comedies produced at the rate of two per week, various one- and two-reel productions, mostly dramas, on the regular schedules, three-reel Than-O-Plays, and an occasional five-reel Mutual Masterpicture or, as they were soon to be titled, Mutual Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition. Reviews of Thanhouser films of less than five reels in length continued to be sparse and occasional, as trade journal and newspaper writers were deluged by large numbers of multiple-reel features released by other companies.


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