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PRESERVATION STATUS: An incomplete (minus 10-15 minutes) print exists in England. Titles appear to be mixed up. There is also material at UCLATitle: The primrose path / Arrow Pictures ; director, Harry O. Hoyt ; screenplay, Leah Baird. Publisher: 1925. Notes: Silent feature. Source: The primrose path / E. Lanning Masters. Credits supplied from AFI catalog, 1921-1930. Length on release was 6 reels, according to: AFI catalog, 1921-1930. Credit: Photography, André Barlatier. Performers: Clara Bow (Marilyn Merrill); Wallace MacDonald (Bruce Armstrong); Arline Pretty (Helen); Stuart Holmes (Tom Canfield); Pat Moore (Jimmy Armstrong); Tom Santschi (Big Jim Snead); Lydia Knott (Mrs. Armstrong); Templar Saxe (Dude Talbot). Language: English
Melodrama: Bruce Armstrong, the weak-willed son of a wealthy family, gambles with Tom Canfield and writes bad checks to cover his losses. To save himself from jail, Bruce agrees to help Canfield in his smuggling operations. During a fight over jewels, Big Jim Snead kills Canfield and attacks Bruce, who kills Snead in self-defense. The only witness to the shooting seems to be Jimmy Armstrong, Bruce's little brother, whom he has crippled in a drunken fit. Rather than subject the child to the rigors of a murder trial, Bruce confesses to Snead's murder. Dude Talbot, another of Canfield's gang, who also witnessed the killing, puts his own freedom in jeopardy and returns to testify at Bruce's trial, demonstrating by his testimony that Bruce killed Snead in self-defense. Bruce is pardoned and marries Marilyn Merrill, a beautiful dancer who stood by him through thick and thin. (From "The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films")
It's a sympathetic picture, even for the boy who went wrong. Also there is a silent grieving mother who instills good feeling into both of her sons, with the older having been the cause of the younger's crippled leg, obliging the smaller boy to wear a brace. That accident, not shown (and unnecessary to show, chopping out detail) was caused through the older boy drinking. All of the older boy's jams came through drinking primarily. One of them brought him to court on the charge of murder.
The entire show business should thank Miss Baird for making Miss Bow a clean, good, lovable girl of a cabaret, who stuck to her boy to the finish. That seemed so nicee and different from the usual scenarist who wants to give another branch of the show business, whether musical comedy or cabaret or circus, a wallop whenever that can be done, to make it a little stronger for the box office.
Good names in this cast, some corkers, besides those featured, but on a double picture day at the New York it's get 'em in and out. You're lucky to be able to read captions, let alone a string of names.
Good continuity in this story, too, of a story without mush, plenty of action, and some nice working out of secret service methods in the attempt to catch a smuggler, the tool of a gambler who is the cabaret's proprietor.
Miss Baird worked a shift of detachable canes very neatly. It was on the dock. The drinking youth, to prevent his arrest for bad checks given at gambling with the proprietor, was obliged to go to the dock, exchanging walking sticks as the smuggler came off o the boat. This was safely accomplished but led up to the murder charge through one of the mob killing the chief gambler.
It may have been the author's thought that the cane switching was a good way, and it was-it has been done, with drugs as well as diamonds.
There are a couple of laughs, but it's not a comedy drama, more like a velvety melodrama, and as such can stand up.
Great picture for the drys but won't be resented by the wets. No propaganda in it.
Mis Bow looked cute and Mr. McDonald did very well as the juvenile. Besides intelligent direction all through, there is a trial scene in court here as well handled in a straightforward way as anything similar seen on the screen.
Stuart Holmes was the villain-gambler who first got bumped off and he did his death scene with much finesse. And now, if Stuart ever will consent to stop parting his hair in the middle, he can go into the heaviest of the heavy classes, for he can look any glossy, villainour role, besides acting it.
Too bad other names were allowed to escape. That English made-up smuggler did some excellent work, also the crippled boy, the latter especially, if not actually lame, and the mother was a peach.
This is a very interesting picture just that, which may be more for those who prefer a reliable."
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