Good Types, Bad Extras

The World and the Woman
R: W. Eugene Moore, Frank Lloyd. B: Philip Lonergan. K: George Webber. D: Jeanne Eagels, Ethelmary Oakland, Boyd Marshall, Thomas A. Curran, Wayne Arey, Grace DeCarlton, Carey L. Hastings. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1916

A view from the Box Office:

“Support: Some good types; some bad extras. Exteriors: Some mountain stuff good. Interiors: Satisfactory. Detail: Generally good, but too much at times. Time: 58 minutes.
Although the action of this was slowed occasionally by construction which gave us unnecessary scenes, there were enough tense moments to make this worthwhile. The underlying thoughts presented in the story are very good, they being in fact, a combination of the themes of the two big successes, ‘Outcast’ and ‘The Miracle Man’. Much of the credit for this offering registering satisfactorily must be given to Miss Jeanne Eagels, who gave us a perfect suggestion of a Broadway streetwalker in the early part of the offering, following it with a very difficult characterization, in which she registered as a faith healer curing cripples by prayer, suggesting a tremendous mental power without losing appeal of her ‘clinging vine’ beauty.
The weakest link in this production was the scene in the church when Miss Eagels joined in the singing of a hymn, with the result that ‘her soul was regained.’ This came entirely too quickly, registering a jarring note. If there had been some lapse of time, or had she listened to a powerful sermon, this transformation would have been much more convincing. Since it was the pivotal point of her career, this scene should have been given more attention.
At the first of the offering we had a lot of cabaret stuff, with many entertainers being introduced, and, while I know that this registers as interesting in the small towns, I believe there is such a thing as allowing it to run away with the development to such an extent that it overshadows the story. Certainly the preponderance of cabaret action retards the advancement of the plot during the first reel. The direction may have felt this necessary in order to get a five-reel picture. The plot sent the streetwalker to the country as the licentious ‘willun’s’ [sic; villain’s] maid, with the result that she became converted, and, through the strength of her faith, she was able to become a faith healer. The man who had made her an outcast came as a guest of the ‘willun’s’ home and was also converted and ‘healed,’ as it were, by her transformation, so that on the finish he was the hero and married our one-time streetwalker.
The ‘extras’ used as villagers were rather good types, and the mountain atmosphere got over nicely, but we had a few extras among the society folk who didn’t belong. There were some good exterior shots in the latter part of the film, but we didn’t have enough scenic beauty to make this in any way distinctive on that account. Frequently we found too much foreground in the interior scenes, with rather poor composition and grouping. In one or two places some of the characters overplayed. This was quite noticeable on the part of the woman who took Miss Eagels into her home during the scene wherein she welcomed her. While some of the titles carried good points, most of them were decidedly stilted in construction and lacked smoothness. A few of the most important dramatic situations were put over in such a manner as to guarantee that they will be very effective with the average audience, and I believe that there are enough good points in this offering to more than counterbalance some of the old-school methods used by the director.
The Box Office Angle: I believe that I would openly announce in my advertising that this story contains some of the elements which made great successes of the productions Outcast and The Miracle Man. I would make it plain that the heroine is changed from a streetwalker to a faith healer through an accidental change of environment, and I believe that you can safely dwell upon the fact that this production registers the wonderful possibilities of effect upon human character by transferring a young girl from the city to the beauty and simplicity of the country.”
Wid’s Film and Film Folk, November 2, 1916