Volume 2: Filmography

 

AN ELEVATOR ROMANCE

 

April 28, 1911 (Friday)

Length: 995 feet

Character: Drama-comedy

 

ADVERTISEMENT, The Moving Picture World, April 22, 1911:

"A portrayal of the thrilling adventures, sharp trials and real perils encountered in an office building aflame. How, the excitement attending the discovery of the blaze, the workers rushed forth and left behind them the pretty switchboard operator - how the slip of a girl stuck to her board in an effort to notify the fire department of the blaze - how a cowardly elevator man refused to go to her rescue and how a boy who loved her did make the trip - is all shown in a masterpiece of realism that will cause comment everywhere."

 

SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, April 29, 1911:

"A wealthy, hustling young Westerner comes East, and immediately calls up his boyhood chum, now a staid businessman in a New York skyscraper. The Westerner is charmed by the sweet voice of the telephone girl who answers his call from the office switchboard, and determines to make her acquaintance. In fact, one of the first things he does after reaching his friend's office is to make inquiries, and he is made happy by an introduction. He soon finds that while the voice is charming, the girl's appearance and manner are much more so. But the girl, being modest and retiring, does not approve of such an informal acquaintance. She practically snubs the Westerner, and he sees that he has made little progress in his suit. And time is valuable for he soon must go back to his home, and he has already decided that he will take a bride with him.

"Love finds a way, as it usually does. The energetic suitor bribes the elevator man to let him take his place for an hour, picking out the time when he knows a girl will go to lunch. She is the only passenger in the car in that trip (although it takes energy to accomplish it), and by some mishap, the elevator gets out of order between floors. The poor girl is hungry, the elevator man has lunch with him. It is hard to be haughty when one is hungry, she soon realizes that the substitute elevator man is a very nice fellow indeed. So they eat and chat, regardless of the fact that the other tenants are compelled to walk up and down stairs. But then a lover is always selfish.

"Designs help the Westerner to get better acquainted, and now accident aids his suit. The next day the building catches fire, and when the young man enters the lower hall, he finds the place in flames and a panic stricken crowd pouring out of the elevator. He hunts for the girl in vain. Then he discovers that she has remained to send in a fire alarm over the phone, and that her associates in the office fled without her. The regular elevator man refuses to take his car up again. He says that the trip cannot be made. But the Westerner acts as elevator man again, finds his girl unconscious, and carries her to safety. Wasn't it natural that the girl should fall in love with the breezy suitor and marry him? Naturally she felt grateful to the man who had fed her when she was hungry and saved her life when she was dying. She really could not refuse to marry him, for he was very presentable, very much in earnest and very much in love."

 

REVIEW, The Billboard, April 29, 1911:

"This exciting little episode of modern life is one of the out of the ordinary stories told with fine acting and very appropriate scenery. The elevator man is especially to be praised for his good characterization of the empty-headed character. A Westerner just arrived in New York City, is very much taken by the voice of the telephone girl answering his call to a friend. He calls at the office and asks to see the girl. She is introduced to him and he is more infatuated than ever, but she treats him very coolly. He tries several plans to thaw her out but is unsuccessful. Finally he hits upon a scheme which appears will be the one to produce results. He dons the uniform of the elevator man and waiting until he has the girl alone in the cab, pulls out the safety switch, thus disabling the elevator. In the long wait for repairs the Westerner offers the girl a delicious lunch which he had secured for the occasion and this manner succeeds in melting the ice. A few days later a fire breaks out in the building, and the girl, trying to notify the fire department, is left behind in the burning building. The Westerner rushes to the room and rescues her and after finding out who had saved her life, the girl is entirely won over."

 

REVIEW, The Morning Telegraph, April 30, 1911:

"The impossibility of this farce injures its ultimate chances of any real success. To begin with the girl would at once recognize the hero even in his disguise as the elevator boy, while the transition from coldness to a friendly regard is unseemingly rapid. A fine effect was missed in this elevator scene as it might easily have been shown in motion of descent, which was not done save for a brief second or so and then but poorly. The constant posing of the leading man each time he passed in front of the camera, his long drawn out sighs and forced facial expression ruined his work and spoiled his otherwise pleasing personality. The office scene is well staged and the acting of the employer and the old bookkeeper deserve praise. The fire was also well done."

 

REVIEW in "Film Charts," The Moving Picture News, April 29, 1911:

"Start: Up

"Finish: Down

"Moral: Learn to run an elevator

"Reception: Hearty

"Biggest moment: Westerner volunteering to run a car"

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, May 13, 1911:

"The way the elevator is utilized here is both novel and delightful. The breezy briskness of the hero who falls in love with the telephone girl with a pleasant voice and brave heart, together with the fine work of the actors who takes this heroine's part, gives this film a high place among recent releases. After the hero rescues her from the fire in which she lingered to warn others, what could she do but succumb. The picture is lively and, being built upon a plan different from most love stories, pleases the audience."

 

REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, May 3, 1911:

"One felt sorry to see an amusing comedy idea turned into a rather conventional melodramatic effect, as is evinced in the mechanical and unnecessary conclusion of this story. A refined Westerner with cowhides which he afterward discarded, no doubt feeling ashamed of himself, came to the city, and in telephoning his friend at his office fell in love with the operator's voice. On being introduced to him, she was far from impressed with him and was very cold. To bring her to terms he conceived the idea of changing clothes with the elevator man, and having the elevator break down when he and she were alone in it. He succeeded and persuaded her to eat lunch there with him, at which she thawed visibly. Later, he rescued her from the burning building, while she stayed at her post to warn the fire department, and then she melted completely. It was wondered why he was not recognized by her in his garb of elevator man. To have had her done so would have added to the naturalness and the comedy of the situation, making an amusing scene in the elevator, and would have done away with the conventional ending. The acting is acceptable, but not up to this company's general standard."

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