When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922 film)

Last updated

When Knighthood Was in Flower
When knighthood was in flower 1922 - publicityhalfsheet.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Robert G. Vignola
Based on When Knighthood Was in Flower
by Charles Major
James B. Fagan (play)
Produced by William Randolph Hearst
Starring Marion Davies
Cinematography Ira H. Morgan
Harold Wenstrom
Music byWilliam Frederick Peters
Victor Herbert (additional music)
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • September 14, 1922 (1922-09-14)
Running time
12 reels; 11,618 feet (120 minutes)
CountryUnited States
Language Silent (English intertitles)
Budget$1.5 million

When Knighthood Was in Flower is a 1922 American silent historical film directed by Robert G. Vignola, based on the eponymous novel by Charles Major and play by Paul Kester. The film was produced by William Randolph Hearst (through his Cosmopolitan Productions) for Marion Davies and distributed by Paramount Pictures. This was William Powell's second film. The story was re-filmed by Walt Disney in 1953 as The Sword and the Rose , directed by Ken Annakin. [1] [2]

Contents

Plot

Mary Tudor is forced by her brother Henry VIII to marry Louis XII as part of a peace agreement but she falls in love with Charles Brandon. Mary flees with him, but the two lovers are captured. Brandon is framed for murder and Mary agrees to marry Louis XII if his life is spared. Brandon is exiled and Louis XII, old and sick, dies shortly after the wedding. After an attempt on the part of Louis XII's nephew Francis I to wed Mary, she finally marries Brandon.

Cast

Left to right: Lyn Harding, Marion Davies, Forrest Stanley When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922) 1.jpg
Left to right: Lyn Harding, Marion Davies, Forrest Stanley

Production

Exteriors were shot at Windsor Castle, England. With an estimated cost of $1,500,000, it was considered by Life "the most expensive film that has ever been produced" in 1922. [3] According to Variety, William Randolph Hearst launched "the most expensive and extensive campaign that has ever been organized for anything theatrical", with over 650 billboards in New York, 300 subway advertising placards, special booths in department stores that sold souvenir books, and a dazzling string of electric signs that pervaded Times Square, upon which Will Rogers quipped that Davies's next film would be titled When Electric Light Was in Power. [4]

Marion Davies makes her entrance coming down the river on a royal barge. The barge was a full-sized replica built in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The scene and the dance were filmed on the Laddins Rock Farm in Stamford/Old Greenwich, Connecticut. [5] Hearst commissioned two songs from Victor Herbert: "The When Knighthood Was in Flower Waltz" and "The Marion Davies March," which were played at the New York premiere. [6]

Reception

The Alhambra Theater in Shelbyville, Indiana, showing the film. When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922) - 3.jpg
The Alhambra Theater in Shelbyville, Indiana, showing the film.

Robert E. Sherwood defined the film "gorgeously beautiful [...] flashily romantic and stirringly impressive", [7] ranking it as one of the best pictures of the year [8] and appreciated Vignola's "genius for lighting and composition". [9] In 1922, Motion Picture News stated the film was "not only Cosmopolitan's greatest achievement [but] one of the greatest achievements of the silversheet", wrote a positive review of the cast and praised Vignola "for his masterly direction". [10]

Delight Evans cited the film among "the most entertaining photoplays ever made" on Photoplay in 1923. [11] It was ranked #10 on Screenland's reader poll of "The Ten Best Screenplays Ever Made" in 1924. [12] The Motion Picture Guide praised the film for its "tremendous production values, excellent direction, a good script, and an outstanding cast", giving it three out of four stars. [13]

It was a triumph for Marion Davies, and she was named "Queen of the Screen" and the #1 female box office star of 1922 at the annual theater owners ball (Rudolph Valentino was named #1 male star). [14] However, the movie was negatively received in London and, according to Davies, the English did not accept an American woman playing an English character. Despite the controversy, it was appreciated by Edward, Prince of Wales, who defined it "a wonderful picture". [15] British art dealer Joseph Duveen stated the film setting was "the most stupendous reproduction of Henry the Eighth court life that has ever been achieved — a marvelous piece of artistry". [16]

Legacy

The film was spoofed in Broncho Billy Anderson's When Knights Were Cold (1923), starring Stan Laurel and Mae Dahlberg. [17]

Ben Model used portions of the songs commissioned by Hearst for the film's New York premiere in his score for the 2017 restoration of the film.

Related Research Articles

Sidney Olcott Canadian actor and film director

Sidney Olcott was a Canadian-born film producer, director, actor and screenwriter.

Marion Davies American actress

Marion Davies was an American actress, producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist. Educated in a religious convent, Davies fled the school to pursue a career as a chorus girl. As a teenager, she appeared in several Broadway musicals and one film, Runaway Romany (1917). She soon became a featured performer in the Ziegfeld Follies. While performing in the 1916 Follies, the nineteen-year-old Marion met the fifty-three-year-old newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, and became his mistress. Hearst took over management of Davies' career and promoted her as a film actress.

<i>The Sword and the Rose</i> 1953 film by Ken Annakin

The Sword and the Rose is a 1953 American-British family and adventure film, produced by Perce Pearce and Walt Disney and directed by Ken Annakin. The film features the story of Mary Tudor, a younger sister of Henry VIII of England.

Estelle Taylor American actress, singer, and animal rights activist

Ida Estelle Taylor was an American actress, singer, model, and animal rights activist. With "dark-brown, almost black hair and brown eyes," she was regarded as one of the most beautiful silent film stars of the 1920s.

Rolf Armstrong American painter

Rolf Armstrong was an American commercial artist specializing in glamorous depictions of female subjects. He is best known for his magazine covers and calendar art. In 1960 the New York Times dubbed him the “creator of the calendar girl.” His commercial career extended from 1912 to 1960, the great majority of his original work being done in pastel.

<i>Show People</i> 1928 film by King Vidor

Show People is a 1928 American silent comedy film directed by King Vidor. The film was a starring vehicle for actress Marion Davies and actor William Haines and included notable cameo appearances by many of the film personalities of the day, including stars Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart and John Gilbert, and writer Elinor Glyn. Vidor also appears in a cameo as himself, as does Davies.

<i>When Knighthood Was in Flower</i> (novel)

When Knighthood Was in Flower is the debut novel of American author Charles Major written under the pseudonym, Edwin Caskoden. It was first published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company in 1898 and proved an enormous success.

Robert G. Vignola American artist

Robert G. Vignola was an Italian-American actor, screenwriter, and film director. A former stage actor, he appeared in many motion pictures produced by Kalem Company and later moved to directing, becoming one of the silent screen's most prolific directors. He directed a handful of films in the early years of talkies but his career essentially ended in the silent era.

<i>All Night</i> (film) 1918 film

All Night is a 1918 American silent comedy-drama film directed by Paul Powell and starring Carmel Myers and Rudolph Valentino. It was released by Universal Pictures under the name Bluebird Photoplays.

<i>Janice Meredith</i> 1924 film by E. Mason Hopper

Janice Meredith, also known as The Beautiful Rebel, is a silent film starring Marion Davies, released in 1924 and based on the book and play of the same name written by Paul Leicester Ford and Edward Everett Rose. The play opened at the end of 1900 and was the first starring vehicle for stage actress Mary Mannering. The movie follows the actions of Janice Meredith, who helps George Washington and Paul Revere during the American Revolutionary War.

Cosmopolitan Productions, also often referred to as Cosmopolitan Pictures, was an American film company based in New York City from 1918 to 1923 and Hollywood until 1938.

<i>Lights of Old Broadway</i> 1925 film

Lights of Old Broadway is a 1925 American silent drama film directed by Monta Bell, produced by William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Productions, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film stars Marion Davies and Conrad Nagel, and is an adaptation of the play The Merry Wives of Gotham by Laurence Eyre (USA). The film has color sequences using tinting, Technicolor, and the Handschiegl color process.

<i>Black Oxen</i> 1923 film by Frank Lloyd

Black Oxen is a 1923 American silent fantasy / romantic drama film starring Corinne Griffith, Conway Tearle, and Clara Bow. Directed by Frank Lloyd, the film is based on the controversial best-selling 1923 novel of the same name by Gertrude Atherton.

<i>Enchantment</i> (1921 film) 1921 film by Robert G. Vignola

Enchantment is a 1921 American silent romantic comedy film produced by Cosmopolitan Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by Robert G. Vignola and starred Marion Davies. A print of the film exists in the Library of Congress.

<i>Little Old New York</i> (1923 film) 1923 film by Sidney Olcott

Little Old New York is a 1923 American silent historical drama film starring Marion Davies and directed by Sidney Olcott that was based on a play of the same name by Rida Johnson Young. The film was produced by William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan production unit.

Yolanda is a 1924 American silent historical drama film produced by William Randolph Hearst and starring Marion Davies. Robert G. Vignola directed as he had Enchantment (1921) and several other Davies costume films. The film began production as a Metro-Goldwyn film, with the company becoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in May 1924.

<i>The Brides Play</i> 1922 film by George Terwilliger

The Bride's Play is a 1922 American silent romance film produced by William Randolph Hearst as a starring vehicle for Marion Davies. It was directed by George Terwilliger and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is an extant film that is preserved at the Library of Congress.

<i>Beautys Worth</i> 1922 film by Robert G. Vignola

Beauty's Worth is a 1922 American romantic comedy drama film directed by Robert G. Vignola, starring Marion Davies as an unsophisticated Quaker who ventures to a seaside resort, meets a Bohemian artist, and falls in love.

<i>The Young Diana</i> 1922 film by Albert Capellani

The Young Diana is a lost 1922 American silent drama film directed by Albert Capellani and Robert G. Vignola and written by Luther Reed. The film stars Marion Davies, Macklyn Arbuckle, Forrest Stanley, Gypsy O'Brien, and Pedro de Cordoba. It is based on the 1918 novel The Young Diana by Marie Corelli. The film was released on August 27, 1922, by Paramount Pictures.

<i>Adam and Eva</i> 1923 film by Robert G. Vignola

Adam and Eva is a 1923 American comedy silent film directed by Robert G. Vignola and adapted by Luther Reed from the play by Guy Bolton and George Middleton. The film stars Marion Davies, T. Roy Barnes, Tom Lewis, William Norris, Percy Ames, Leon Gordon, and Luella Gear. Marion Davies plays an extravagant girl who, when her father goes bust, reforms by learning the simple life and making a farm a thriving business venture. The film was released on February 11, 1923, by Paramount Pictures.

References

  1. Progressive Silent Film List: When Knighthood Was in Flower at silentera.com
  2. When Knighthood Was in Flower as produced by Charles Frohman on the Broadway stage at the Criterion Theatre January 14, 1901 to June 1901, 176 performances; IBDb.com database
  3. Life, Volume 80, p. 208
  4. Samantha Barbas,The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons, University of California Press, 2006, p. 82
  5. Kendall, Jane (February 27, 2000). "Location, Location, Location; It Was Close to New York and Still the Country, So Directors Made Greenwich a Star of the Silent Era". The New York Times.
  6. Lorusso, Edward (2017) The Silent Films of Marion Davies, CreateSpace, p. 76.
  7. Robert E. Sherwood (1923). The Best Moving Pictures of 1922-1923. Small, Maynard & Company. p. 51.
  8. John T. Soister, American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929, McFarland, 2012, p. 41
  9. Robert G. Vignola praised for work. Moving Picture World. November 11, 1922. p. 157.
  10. Pictures and people. Motion Picture News. September 30, 1922. p. 1601.
  11. Delight Evans (January 1923). The Man Who Spent a Million. Photoplay. p. 74.
  12. The Ten Best Screen Dramas. Screenland. 1924. p. 75.
  13. Jay Robert Nash, Robert Connelly, Stanley Ralph Ross, Motion Picture Guide Silent Film 1910-1936, Cinebooks, 1988, p. 303
  14. Lorusso, Edward (2017) The Silent Films of Marion Davies, CreateSpace, p. 96.
  15. Marion Davies (1975). Times We Had. Ballantine Books. pp. 36–37. ISBN   9780345327390.
  16. Art expert much impressed by Miss Davies' next film. Moving Picture World. August 12, 1922. p. 500.
  17. Wes D. Gehring, Laurel & Hardy: A Bio-bibliography, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990, p. 24