Volume II: Filmography




August 17, 1915 (Tuesday)

Length: 2 reels (1,150 feet)

Character: Comedy

Cast: Claude Cooper ("Hungry Hamlet"), Frances Keyes (his mother), Lorraine Huling (Margy, the leading lady), Harry Benham (Johnnie Jenkins), Winifred Lane (Ruby, the villainess), Eleanor Spaulding

Notes: 1. This film, a comedy, was listed as a drama in most schedules. 2. A review in The Biograph gave the film length as 1,150, a very short length for two reels.


ARTICLE, The Moving Picture World, August 21, 1915:

"August 17 will witness a release from the Thanhouser studios of Edwin Thanhouser's first attempt at a two-reel-comedy, as the conception of comedy prevails today. The title of it is When Hungry Hamlet Fled, and it is a result of a wager for $5,000 made by Mr. Thanhouser and Seton C. ('Cyclone') Pierce, the Minneapolis traction man. It came about at a dinner at which six others were present, among them B. F. Juddel, and the Mutual of Minneapolis manager, and B.B. Reissman, of the Dale Theatre of St. Paul. The challenge was laid down to Mr. Thanhouser so strongly that he took it up; the task was to make a comedy in two-reels which would be equal in effect to a very popular comedy brand now on the market, in which is featured a comedian conceded to be the peer of all fun makers. A set of conditions were formulated, and under these Mr. Thanhouser won his bet. He then decided to release the picture under the Thanhouser brand, the Falstaff comedies of the concern being only single reel releases.

"When Hungry Hamlet Fled is the story of the stage in which Lorraine Huling, Frances Keyes, Eleanor Spaulding, Harry Benham and Claude Cooper carry the action, with Cooper in the title role. As a 'legit' of the rail-walking variety, an actor whose chief asset is an appetite as neglected as it is hearty, Cooper as Hamlet undertakes to give a performance at a tank town with tank talent. He incurs the ill-will of the ingenue's gay admirer in handing out the parts, and the bumpkin determines to 'crab' the show. His jay conception of how to ruin a performance is refreshing; the inspiration is lofty; he accomplishes his purpose with brilliancy enough to shower over a dozen jay revenges. And Hamlet, dignified to the last egg, makes an exit as did the general who reported a victory thus 'The enemy is advancing with heavy loss; we are retreating.'"


SYNOPSIS, Reel Life, August 14, 1915:

"Hungry Hamlet, a romantic vagrant, comes to Cedarville and usurps the place of Johnnie Jenkins, leading man in the 'Booth and Barrett Dramatic Club' productions. Moreover, he seems in a fair way to steal the affections of Margy, the leading lady, in real life Jenkins' sweetheart. Jenkins plots revenge. A thrilling love drama is announced, with Hamlet and Margy in the leads. On the opening night, all sorts of unforeseen accidents to actors and props turn the performance into a howling burlesque. Hamlet is egged off the boards, and Jenkins comes in for comforting the leading lady. Margy receives Johnnie back into her favor."


REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, August 21, 1915:

"A two-reel burlesque subject which proves that old situations may be made new with the right sort of treatment. This picture is a bunch of amateurs being drilled in a melodrama by a player of the old school, who insists upon being the hero. When the regular performance comes a jealous individual has arranged that the scenes shall all fall to pieces. He succeeds in crabbing the show and much laughter results. This should prove popular with the average audience."

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