Seven Keys to Baldpate (1917 film)

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Seven Keys to Baldpate
Seven Keys to Baldpate 1917 poster.jpg
Lobby poster with likenesses of George M. Cohan and Elda Furry
Directed by Hugh Ford
Written by Earl Derr Biggers (novel)
Based on Seven Keys to Baldpate
by George M. Cohan
Produced byGeorge M. Cohan
StarringGeorge M. Cohan
Anna Q. Nilsson
Cinematography Ned Van Buren
Lewis W. Physioc
Distributed byArtcraft Pictures
Release date
  • October 17, 1917 (1917-10-17)(United States)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
The full film

Seven Keys to Baldpate is a 1917 American silent mystery/thriller film produced by George M. Cohan and distributed by Artcraft Pictures, an affiliate of Paramount. [1] The film is based on Cohan's 1913 play of the 1913 novel by Earl Derr Biggers. Cohan himself stars in this silent version along with Anna Q. Nilsson and Hedda Hopper, billed under her real name Elda Furry. One version of the play preceded this movie in 1916 and numerous versions followed in the succeeding decades such as the early RKO talkie starring Richard Dix. [2]


Seven Keys to Baldpate is an extant film with much home video availability. [3] [4]


As described in a film magazine, [5] George Washington Magee (Cohan) bets a companion $5,000 that he can write a bestseller in twenty-four hours. He goes to an isolated summer hotel in the mountains, receives the only key to the place, and sets about his task. Soon he is interrupted by complications as guests arrive, unexpected and uninvited, each with their own key to the deserted hotel. Two hundred thousand dollars gets deposited in the hotel safe, a young woman is shot, and, while the author holds the crooks at bay waiting for the police to arrive, they cook up a scheme to turn the tables on George. The woman's body disappears from the room, and the crooks are marched off to prison by U.S. Secret Service men. The caretaker returns the following night and congratulates the author on his success, and a lady reporter capitulates under the smiles of the industrious writer.


Critical reception

In Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, Dave Sindelar wrote, "Cohan himself appears in the lead role. This was his first of only a handful of screen appearances, and he does a fine job...The plot is far-fetched and sometimes confusing, and the fact that some sections of the plot are replaced by title cards doesn’t help, but I like the backstory, and there’s definitely an air of parody to the proceedings. At this point of time, I’d have to say it’s my favorite version of the story." [6]

See also

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<i>Seven Keys to Baldpate</i> (novel)

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  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Seven Keys to Baldpate
  2. League, The Broadway. "Seven Keys to Baldpate – Broadway Play – Original - IBDB".
  3. Progressive Silent Film List: Seven Keys to Baldpate at
  4. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Seven Keys to Baldpate
  5. "Reviews: Seven Keys to Baldpate". Exhibitors Herald. New York: Exhibitors Herald Company. 5 (9): 29. August 25, 1917.
  6. "Seven Keys to Baldpate (1917)". 24 October 2017.