This week’s mystery movie was the 1924 MGM picture “The Red Lily.” The new credits list “an original story written and directed by Fred Niblo.” Modern credits: Ramon Novarro, Enid Bennett (note: Niblo’s wife), Frank Currier, Mitchell Lewis, Risita Marstini, Sydney Franklin, Wallace Beery, George Nichols, Emily Fitzroy, George Periolat, Rosemary Theby, Milla Davenport, Gibson Gowland and Dick Sutherland.
Scenarist was Beth Meredyth, photography by Victor Milner, scenic architect was Ben Carre, edited by Lloyd Nosler, assistant director Doran Cox. Original score by Scott Salinas.
The 1924 New York Times review provides the following credits: Enid Bennett, Ramon Novarro, Wallace Beery, Frank Currier, Rosemary Theby, Mitchell Lewis, Emily Fitzroy, George Periolat, Milly (cq) Davenport, Dick Sutherland, Gibson Gowland and George Nichols, adapted from Anatole France’s story, directed by Fred Niblo; overture, introduction and march from “Le Coq d’Or”; “Neapolitan Fancy”; “I Am a Parisian” by Frank Moulan.
“The Red Lily” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.
I let a random number generator select the year for this week’s mystery movie, which is how we got 1924. The year is not terribly well-represented in the Daily Mirror vaults, and the result was “The Red Lily,” a “mellerdrammer” of a silent film if there ever was one.
The anonymous critic for the New York Times (Sept. 29, 1924), however, loved this film:
Charles Chaplin’s influence even over as clever a director as Fred Niblo is apparent in the latter’s dramatic picture “The Red Lily,” which is sure to thrill and please many persons who see it at the Capitol this week. To us it is one of the outstanding film efforts of the season. The acting of the players is beyond reproach and the various situations are worked out with stirring suspense. One senses through this photo-drama the fact that it is obviously inspired by a French writer.
… Miss Bennett gives one of the most remarkable performances ever seen on the screen in this production. Disappointment and despair are written on her wistful face and she is just as able in her portrayal of the woman who would starve rather than disappoint the man she loved. Mr. Novarro, young though he may be, triumphs as the steadfast and temporarily disappointed sweetheart. Mr. Beery is, as usual, thoroughly capable as Bobo, for whom he elicits sympathy in the latter chapter. The others in the cast fill their roles efficiently.
Those who like a good story will find this is a picture which will tug on their heartstrings.
For Monday, we have a mystery chef. He approves of such goings-on.
Update: This is Sidney Franklin, who plays the husband of Madame Charpide (as rendered in the titles; Charpied in IMDB).
This is the mystery woman who is the subject of our mystery chef’s ogling. She does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Marcelle Corday. Compare her legs (the object of Franklin’s ogling) with the much-ogled legs of Mary Duncan eight years later in “State’s Attorney.” Changing ideas of beauty? A topic for another day.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery chap. He approves of certain goings-on. Our leading lady has been cropped out due to her lack of mysteriousness.
Update: This is the uncropped image, showing Enid Bennett and Gibson Gowland.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have a not terribly mysterious gent engaged in his usual disreputable behavior.
Update: This is Wallace Beery.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery gent), Tucson Barbara (Wednesday’s mystery gent), Thom and Megan (Wednesday’s mystery gent), Sue Slutzky (Wednesday’s mystery gent), James Curtis (Wednesday’s mystery gent) and Sheila (Wednesday’s mystery gent).
And for Friday, our distraught mystery leading man prays for the recovery of our mystery leading lady.
Update: This is Ramon Novarro and Enid Bennett.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s disreputable gent), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sue Slutzky (mystery movie and Thursday’s mysterious disreputable gent), Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mysterious disreputable gent), Anne Papineau (Thursday’s mysterious disreputable gent), Benito (Thursday’s mysterious disreputable gent), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie and Thursday’s disreputable mystery guest).