Volume 2: Filmography

 

OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY

 

June 1, 1916 (Thursday)

Length: 5 reels

Character: Drama; Mutual Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition No. 106

Director: William Parke

Scenario: Lloyd Lonergan, from Émile Gaboriau's story

Cameraman: Walter K. Scott

Cast: Gladys Hulette (the girl), Fraunie Fraunholz (her sweetheart), J.H. Gilmour (her father), Yale Benner (the cook), Kathryn Adams (his wife)

Location: Certain scenes were filmed in Manhattan, including Fifth Avenue, Central Park, and Riverside Drive near Grant's Tomb.

Note: An erroneous release date of May 29, 1916 was given in an article in The Moving Picture World, June 3, 1916.

 

BACKGROUND OF THE SCENARIO: Thanhouser's scenario was adapted from Émile Gaboriau's work, Other People's Money. Originally published in French, the story was translated from L'Argent des Autres into English in 1864, the year after Gaboriau's death. Émile Gaboriau also wrote M. Lecoq, of which a Thanhouser film was made (released on August 16, 1915).

 

ARTICLE, Reel Life, May 27, 1916:

"GLADYS HULETTE STARS IN THANHOUSER FEATURE: The story, which is familiar to readers of detective fiction, tells about a banker who is ruined by the duplicity of a band of clever crooks who posed as his friends. The action centers around the struggles of the daughter to restore her father's fortune and to bring the criminals to justice. Many of the exterior scenes in this drama were taken in Central Park, where the famous park grotto is shown. Other scenes show crowded Fifth Avenue in the center of the shopping district and Riverside Drive near Grant's Tomb. Gladys Hulette is a lovely heroine, who is sure to win the the hearts of all who see her in this production. She plays with her accustomed naivete and charm, which she does with absolute fearlessness. Fraunie Fraunholz, a newcomer to Mutual fans, acquits himself with credit and gives promise of becoming a most popular leading man."

Note: Curiously, the preceding article omits mention of the film's title!

 

ARTICLE, The Moving Picture World, June 3, 1916:

"Exposé of a band of notorious get-rich-quick schemers and their nefarious methods pursued in obtaining the confidences and frequently the savings of a gullible public has been made the basis for a stirring photodrama to be released shortly by the Mutual Film Corporation. In the preparation of the scenario the Thanhouser-Mutual studios were furnished with considerable data by federal agents and by several noted government sleuths who have been instrumental in breaking up a number of bands of notorious get-rich-quick plotters. This stirring production will be released through the Mutual as a Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition, under the title of Other People's Money. The five acts of the piece are alive with action and replete with thrilling situations. Throughout runs an unusually pleasing love story, ending with the happy marriage of the young girl who brings about the exposé of the band and the young detective, with whom she worked. Gladys Hulette, the five-foot star of the Thanhouser-Mutual productions, is the featured player, supported by an extraordinary company of players, headed by Fraunie Fraunholz, a newcomer, but by no means an unknown player. Other People's Money will be released in five acts, May 29."

 

SYNOPSIS, Reel Life, May 20, 1916:

"Other People's Money, Mutual Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition, produced by Thanhouser, is a fascinating drama of the attempts of an unscrupulous man and wife to live on the money of other people. Ever since money became the standard of world exchange adventurers have conspired with more or less success to maintain themselves by swindling their fellows. Stories of human parasites are numerous; pictures with this theme are common, but it remained for this Mutual Masterpicture DeLuxe to strike a new note in the presentation of such a story. The action of the plot is rapid throughout the five acts. Gladys Hulette plays the lead. She is unusually clever in the role of the daughter of the man who is victimized by the crooks and made the scapegoat by the authorities. Miss Hulette is ably supported by Fraunie Fraunholz, J.H. Gilmour, Yale Benner and Kathryn Adams. The entire cast was selected by the director with a view to obtaining the best type for the required characters. The results attained justify the choice.

"The story opens with the broker, who, as the head of the company was promising quick returns on investments, suddenly disappears. Another 'get rich quick' bubble had exploded. The case was ordinary, it was averred by the officials, for the man had imposed on a gullible public and made off with their money to live in ease in some distant country. But there was a different story. The man had been the victim of a scheming couple. He was the tool of two wizards of high finance who used him to cover their tracks and take the blame for their misdeeds. The escape of the broker had been accomplished in a highly sensational manner. While his daughter detained the detectives by talking to them, he left the table of a dinner party given at his home and from that time no trace of him had been found. To help the needy ones who had suffered by the apparent mismanagement of her father, the girl turned over all her property to the creditors and withdrew to earn her livelihood by working in a dressmaking establishment. Among those who attended the creditor's meeting were the actual criminals, and they selected as their next victim a young man who had lost a few thousand in the crash but who could easily afford to lose more. He had been very sympathetic with the unfortunates and seemed 'easy.'

"To enlist his immediate sympathy, the woman simulated an attempted suicide. After the young fellow had rescued her, she told him that her husband's meager earnings had been wiped out by the crash and that they had nothing left. The young man escorted her home and said he would help them to a new start in life. While the woman and the 'sucker' were out in the latter's automobile chance intervened to upset the plans of the conspirators. The girl, who had retired after the flight of her father, was struck by the machine. Despite the fact that the woman made sure to inform the young fellow who the upstart was, he evinced a great interest in her. To destroy this interest, the scheming woman tried a novel plan. She had the employer of the girl send the young woman out motoring in expensive gowns, arranged for the young man to see her, and insinuate that the worst possible conclusion was the only way to explain the sudden acquisition of wealth. This trick proved useless for the lover investigated and found that she was merely acting as a model. Various attempts to injure the girl and put her out of the way were tried but all to no avail. Feeling convinced that she was being persecuted for an unknown motive the young fellow decided to do a little investigating.

"As a last resort the swindlers had their bookkeeper, who had only been a short time in their employ but had earned their confidence, write a letter to the girl purporting to come from her father asking her to meet him. The girl kept her appointment and found the man and woman waiting for her instead. They threatened her with bodily injury unless she withdrew and they reminded her of how they had disposed of her father. Then they became boisterous, feeling sure of their victim, and recalled the details of the plot that had eliminated the father. Their talk suddenly ceased when they saw their bookkeeper followed by the young man and a policeman enter the room. While the crooks raged at the bookkeeper who had betrayed them, the old man smiled, removed his wig and glasses and introduced himself as the fugitive broker. He had determined to disclose the real criminals and, with the aid of the police, had installed a dictagraph, listened to what was said and arranged for their arrest. In the face of this testimony the swindlers were speechless and were silently escorted to prison to await trial."

 

REVIEW by Adam Hull Shirk, The Morning Telegraph, May 21, 1916:

"Adapted to some extent from an old novel by Emile Gaboriau, creator of Monsieur Lecoq, Other People's Money would be a far more entertaining picture were the arm of coincidence not stretched to almost impossible lengths at times and were the clues of a more probable character. The presence of dainty Gladys Hulette in the picture makes up for a great deal, as she is not only charming but acts with a simplicity and sincerity that is exceptionally satisfying. Her support is also good and the settings are in many cases attractive and convincing. Fraunie Fraunholz, as the wealthy man who becomes enamored of and finally rescues the girl from those who seek her downfall, is a most agreeable hero. For once we are given a leading man who is not merely a handsome, upstanding individual, but who is far more human than many other screen heroes. There is something convincing and natural about his work throughout. J.H. Gilmour does a good bit as the father of the girl. Yale Benner and Kathryn Adams supply the heavy roles with all that is required in the way of villainy. In fact, the cast photography and other details are far better than in the scenario, which presumably is at fault. For example, a chauffeur who kidnaps the girl tears a button from his coat with a piece of cloth and leaves it in the wrecked machine. The hero finds the clue and immediately sets out to look at all the chauffeurs in the city. At last, after a long search, he encounters the very man, with the hole in his coat plainly discernible from a distance, standing in front of a garage!

"Seated in Central Park, the crook sees a man knock another down. He aids the assailant to escape and he turns out to be the father of the girl, in disguise. Again, the crook, riding down the avenue in his car, sees the girl in a limousine running parallel with his car. Later tire trouble develops just to give him a chance to steal her away. Such convenient situations could have been avoided and the film would have been far more convincing as a result. It is hard to believe that Gaboriau would have permitted such faults in his original work. The story is concerned with the attempt of two crooks, man and wife, to gain possession of the fortune of a man who, together with many less able to do so, has lost money when a brokerage concern failed. The girl's father was at the head of the concern, but not, apparently, responsible for its collapse. The crooks place the blame on him and he escapes, to return in disguise. The hero meets the girl and falls in love with her. The crooks see their plans gone awry and try to do away with the girl. They are frustrated and captured at last and all ends happily."

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, June 3, 1916:

"A five-part production from the Thanhouser studios in which Gladys Hulette plays the feminine lead. Miss Hulette, always attractive, does much to help the picture along by the manner in which she handles the role of the young woman who lives under the shadow of her father's crime, and gives her inheritance to satisfy his creditors. It is in rather bad taste to interpolate a fashion show in the midst of what should be a legitimate drama. This is bound to bring criticism as to construction, in spite of the excellent things accomplished by the players."

 

REVIEW, Wid's Film and Film Folk, May 25, 1916:

"This is a decidedly ordinary movie plot, based on the work of a pair of get-rich-quick artists who wreck a banker's institution and then go to work on another victim, only to be foiled eventually by the fact that the banker's daughter is loved by the victim. The banker, who escapes when first told of the coming failure, returns to the action in disguise, the disguise being painfully obvious, and securing a place in the office of the get-rich quick men, he assists in tricking them at the end.

"The story of this includes that highly original thought of destroying an automobile by sending it over a cliff. Failing in this attempt to kill the heroine by placing her in the automobile which was destined for destruction, the hero discovered that the plotting chauffeur of this machine had lost a button from his coat in jumping from the car. We then had the truly ridiculous situation of the hero walking the streets of New York examining the coats of every chauffeur of a taxi-cab or garage, to find one who was minus a button such as that found by the machine. We had many 'interesting' scenes of him walking up to various taxis and into various garages and, of course, he finally located the right man. If this situation does not get a real laugh wherever shown I will commence to readjust my opinion of film fans.

"Really this offering is about three reels of melodrama and two reels of fashion display, since someone connected with the production must have figured that there was not enough material for five reels, and so they arranged with a prominent New York store to give them a little advertising, with the result that we had about two reels of various models showing fine gowns, the front of the store being flashed a few times so that there could be no question as to what concern was providing all these joys of a woman's life. It is probably true that the feminine portion of an audience enjoys looking at beautiful clothes, but I believe they would rather see them on a character that has something to do with the story or else look at them in one of the current news weeklies. It is hardly good construction to inject two reels of this sort of thing into ordinary melodrama.

"There is nothing very interesting about any of this unless it might be the work of Fraunie Fraunholz, who is the hero and he is given such ridiculous business that his part cannot register convincingly. As a whole this is very ordinary. It may be accepted by an audience that does not worry much about what it sees but surely it will never do where they are good judges. Others in the cast were J.H. Gilmour, Yale Benner and Kathryn Adams."

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