I film perduti di Louise Brooks

The American Venus, A social celebrity, Just another blonde


The American Venus


AMERICAN FILM CATALOG. Mary Gray, whose father manifactures cold cream, is engaged to sappy Horace Niles, the son of Hugo Niles, the elder Gray's most competitive rival in the cosmetics business. Chip Armstrong, a hot-shot public relations man, quits the employ of Hugo Niles and goes to work for Gray, persuading Mary to enter the Miss America contest at Atlantic City, with the intention of using her to endorse her father's cold cream should she win. Mary breaks her engagement with Horace. When it appears that she will the contest, Hugo lures her home on the pretext that her father is ill, and she misses the contest: Chip and Mary return to Atlantic City, discovering that the new Miss America has told the world that she owesa all her success to Gray's cold cream. On this note, Chip and Mary decide to get married"

VARIETY. This is the long-heralded exploitation special of Famous Players – the picture to afford a million tieups for publicity and other purposes. Its chief tieup so far has been with the alleged expose of the New York Graphic of the last beaut contest in Atlantic City, in which, the Graphic charged, Fay Lanphier selection was prearranged.
            That has nothing to do with the picture. (....)
            The plot concerns two rival beauty cream factories out west. A son of one proprietor is engaged to marry the daughter of the other. This engagement is called ... A publicity man annexes himself to the minor plant and almost puts over the owner’s daughter as ‘The American Venus’. The plan was to have her endorse a cold cream and, on that basis, sell millions of jars, thus putting the other man out of business. But the girl’s father became ill and she was called back home, going to Atlantic City the second time, but arriving too late for the final.
            Her friend, Miss Alabama, wins. Although the heroine has had an accident and is confined to her room, the winner endorses her father’s cold cream gratis. (...)
            The pageant scenes are in color, some well dome and some rather garish. (...) The producers tried to stress the undress angle by showing a series of supposedly thrilling ‘tableaux vivants’. There was naked stuff in these and it may get censors sore in the more puritanical regions

NEW YORK TIMES. The enormity of the tragedy that burst into the life of Miss Alabama, one of the characters in a picture entitled The American Venus, can be appreciated by every woman who is not color blind, for this stunning girl, a contestant in a beauty show, receives from her home town  white dress instead of  one of the shade suited to her eyes and hair. It looked like life’s darkest moment to Miss Alabama, when out of the blue there came an angelic blonde, with cherry lips andturquoise eyes, who offered the despondent maiden a gown of metallic cloth that was just the very thing Miss Alabama needed. The girl who brushed away the tears on the Southern girl’s cheeks was Mary Gray, who also aspired to win the coronet of Miss America.  She hailed from Centreville, N. J., where her father in off moments from petty gambling indulged in the business of making complexion creams.
            As Fay Lanphier won the covetd title of Miss America last year, it was reasonable to suppose that some way had to be found for her, as Miss Alabama, to defeat Mary Gray, the heroine of this narrative. It is accomplished by a prolonged automobile race, and in the end the fair Mary cannot compete because her head is wrapped in bandages.
            This is an elaborate production, with a hit and miss story. Some of the photographic skill in the colored sequences is most ingenious. There is an artistic prestidigitator who has a touch of Satan in his make-up. He is able to produce the beautiful girls from behing his cloak with the red silk lining.
            Frequently this film slumps into the veriest buffoonery, with automobiles and motorcycles escaping a crash by a hair’s breadth, nd also in the chapter in which Ford Sterling has a busy time avoiding his wife  after chatting with a candidate for the title of Miss America.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The heroine is Mary Gray, whose lovable but irresponsible father is in the beauty cream business in Centerville. Mary is engaged to Horace Niles, sappy son of the manufacturer of a rival beauty cream. Mr. Gray owes Mr. Niles money, which is why Mary feels it her duty to stay engaged
There bursts upon the town a bright son of the publicity business. He has been hired to put the Niles' cream across-but he meets Mary; and from then on The Gray product knows his tender care
Under his experienced guidance enters the Atlantic City beauty contest, and through her experiences at that seaside resort and thereabouts much good is visited upon Gray's beauty cream.


A social celebrity


Max Haber, a smalltown barber, is the pride of his father, Johann, who owns an antiquated barbershop. Max adores Kitty Laverne, the manicurist, who loves him but aspires to be a dancer and leaves for New York, hoping that he will follow in pursuit of better things. Mrs. Jackson-Greer, a New York Society matron, has occasion to note Max fashioning the hair of a town girl and induces him to come to New York and pose as a French count. There he meets April, Mrs.' King's niece, and loses his heart to her, as well as to Kitty, now a showgirl. At the theater where Kitty is appearing Max is the best dressed man in April's party, but later at a nightclub Kitty exposes him, and he is deserted by his society friends.

Disillusioned, Max returns home at the request of his father. Kitty follows, realizing that he needs her


VARIETY. As to the tale the film unwinds it matters not much what it is. Menjou is cast as the best barber in Huntington, L. I. He and his old dad are the only barbers there, from the picture. Pop Haber (mr. Conklin) after opening up in the morning shaves himself with a safety razor, which goes for a wow laugh in the shop. Kitty Laverne (Miss Brooks) acts as cashier. She and the barber’s son are in love. She, however, decries the boy’s lack of ambition and to stir this leaves Huntington and the barber shop flat in New York.It takes but a week for the boy to follow her. He can’t locate her. She is working in a night club while he is clipping in a Broadwy barbershop.
          Comes a call for a barber in the home of one of the men about town. As Max looks the part of the society boys decide to take him along as a count and foist (folst) him  on their hostess that evening. They tog him out in dress clothes and the daughter of the hostess falls for him. But the next evening, in the same night club where Kitty is working, the barber is exposed for what he s, and his social  lady friends leave him.
          Nothing left but to return to Huntington, expecially as Pop has come on the scene and informed the boy that business has been ruined by his departure. Kitty follows, like the brave little thing that she is, to be shown with him and a bouncing baby in the final shot.

NEW YORK TIMES. Mr. Menjou’s part is that of Max Haben, the son of John Haben. Mr. Conklin officiates in the role fo the father, who, when nobody is looking, deceitfully uses a safety razor to shave himself. Max’s ability as a barber is not confined to male chins and haircuts, for he also is known as the best ‘bobber’ in town. Before the young man leaves for Gotham, the shop shelves are filled with shaving mugs, but soon after his departure these steady customers dwindle grasually until the old barber gazes mournfully at a solitary mug, and that is his own. (...) Soon after the prleiminary scene, A Mrs. Jackson-Greer is introduced. She is so struck by the way Max trims her hair that she suggests that he ought to go to New York and open a ‘beauty shop’. She even volunteers to help him. Now Max is very much in love with Kitty Laverne, who had left his father’s employ to go to New York. Therefore he decides to throw in his lot with others in a big cit; but soon after his arrival he is forced to take employment in a busy barber shop. He is sent one day to shave one of the guests in a room of a hotel, and this customer is surprised to see much a handsome barber, and he comment upon Max’s appearance while the barber is preparing his razor.
        A telephone message from a hostess announces to the man who is about to be shaved that Count Havare de Maxim cannot be present at a dinner the woman is giving, and the disappointed social light wants somebody urgently to take the Count’s place. Hence Max is selected to go to the gathering arrayed in impeccable evening clothes topped off with a fur coat. He is introduced as a Count and instantly becomes very popular with the other guests. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jackson-Greer appears upon the scene, but after frowns and grimaces from Max she shakes his hand and informs her hostess that she has known the ‘Cunt’ since he was quite a little ‘shaver’. (...)
          There are acouple of captions in French, supposed to be addressed to Max when he is posing as a French count. He looks dumbfonded when a Frenchman says to him: ‘Qu’en pensez vous de la crise financière, Monsieur?’

CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The hero of this piece is a barber and a son of a barber.
The Habers, senior and junior, own a barber shop in Huntington that does a rushing business. The old fellows take their shaves from Father. The young collar ads nd the flappers with bobs insist on Max's ministrations-and he has the reputation of being one keen barber-and bobber. But Kitty Laverne, a town girl who manicures at the shop, looks at him with love and disdain. "Just a barber! You'll never be anything BUT a barber!" she says with a can-you-feature tHAT expression.And one day, tiring of being herself just a mnicure girl she goes to the city to make good-and if doing the Charleston in a night club is doing that little thing-she's successful. Max is feeling low, when Fate, in the portly person of a New York society matron, comes in to the bobbed and says to him: "You are an ARTIST! You should be in New York running a beauty shop!". She gives him her card, and with the large gesture of cordiality her kind so often bestows upon those they never expect to see again-departs. Max, however, is a simple soul.He takes her at her word, goes to New York-and is put in his place bythe lady. Then - THEN- something happens. For a few brief hours he find himself all dressed up, with a swell place to go, a title, and a society girl and her stately mamma casting glances respectively languishing and determined in his direction.
For rich man's idle whim he has become a social celebrity-until the clock shall strike, which it does soon and with resounding clangor.
And here is where he is so reminiscent of Chaplin. So hopelessly, helplessly, famely, ludicrously, pathetically, gentlemanly-in WRONG!


Just another blonde


AMERICAN FILM CATALOG. Jimmy O'Connor, employed in a gambling establishment, is so honest that he is offered a banking job at any time; and for his sake, Scotty, his protegé and pal, decides to go straight. The boys go fifty-fifty in everything until Scotty falls in love with Diana, who operates  a shooting booth at Coney Island. Jimmy declares that he disapproves of all women - except his mother - and Scotty despairs until he schemes to have Jimmy meet Jeanne, Diana's girl friend. It is only when they expect to be killed in an airplane crash that Jimmy tells Jeanne he loves her, but later he feigns indifference: Jeanne is heartbroken; Scotty explains that he can't marry Diana until Jimmy is safely engaged; and with that both boys are reconciled to their respective sweethearts

VARIETY. For the greater part of the action the audience is deliberately misled to suppose that it is the blonde who is the sweetheart of the hero, only to have the tables turned at the end, when it is revealed that the woman-hating boy has been ed to the altar in a sentimental conspiracy of his pal and the pal’s girl (...)
          Jeanne, blonde, and Blackie, brunet, are pals one as the dance-hall hostess, the ther as a lunapark ticket seller. Jimmy is managing a dice game in a gambling house, while his pal, Scotty, is the overseer of the game. The two pairs are inseparable.
          It is Scotty who first awakens to love, as disclosed in his confessions to Jimmy, who is a hard boiled woman-hater, and advises against getting ‘tangled up with a dame’. The blonde’s photograph on Scotty’s bureau reveals the situation to the partner. Scotty confesses he isn’t making much headway with his courtship, begging the wiser Jimmy to meet the girl and do his ‘Romeo broadcasting’.
          Jimmy meets Blondie and falls for her hard himself. But his loyalty to his pal makes him proof against temptation. Scotty plays around at a distance, preserving a mysterious complaisance toward the situation of his girl falling for his pal. All four go to the airplane races, and Jimmy and Blondie go up. Their plane loses its landing gears.. Faced with peril, Jimmy forgets his fealthy to Scotty and confesses his love, receiving the girl’s confession of love in return.
          They are smashed up a bit in landing. When he leaves the hospital Jimmy is for beating it from the scene of what he thinks is his guilty disloyalty until Scotty reveals that it was really Blackie he loved and he just threw Blonde at Jimmy so all hands could marry and make a foursome of it

NEW YORK TIMES. A wise old negro told the hero’s  mother that her son was in the sporting goods business, working from 7 to 11. Actually, James O’Connor at that moment derived his livelihood from shaking dice in Coney Island. Like most of these young men who are caught in the opening chapter sowing their wild oates James takes stock of the error of his ways and forthwith banks a –ere matter of $ 4,000 and accepts a decent position. Hence for the balance of this tale Mr. O’Connor was making himself as sympathetic as possible. He goes up in a airplane with jeanne Cavanaugh (Miss Mackaill) and does not appear to be in the least, nervous, not even when it becomes known that the under-carriage of the machine has been detached through a brush with the telegraph wires.
          A most natural scene is that inwhich scores of persons are beheld running to the spot where the airplane is supposed to have turned turtle in landing. There is an ambulance plunging over the rough ground, the groups of people here and there converging to the one centre, and finally the glimpse f the wreck and an unconscious girl.
        Scotty does most of the good work in this picture and in the end loses Jeanne. He appears, however, quite happy when he embraces Diana O’Sullivan (Miss Brooks)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Jimmy O'Connell, played by Jack Mulhall, makes a fairly good living by shooting the ivories. He's a nice boy, though, and is "So honest he almost makes gambling legal". He's also good too his mother and regards his pal, Kid Scotty, as Damon regarded Pythisa. Scotty is equally fond of Jimmy, so of course, when they appear to fall in love with the same girl, each one nobly renounces her in favor of the other. Enter another girl who gives that twist to the story to which I referred above.


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