The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of Lady Anne
B: Lloyd Lonergan. D: Florence La Badie, Justus D. Barnes, William Russell. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1912
Print: Library of Congress

The Morning Telegraph, July 28, 1912:
“From every angle of view this is a wholly delightful photoplay and one of such originality in theme and presentation that it cannot but be recalled long after dozens of others have been forgotten. It is staged with a care and excellence in settings and furniture that is noteworthy, while it is acted so effectively and without any false pantomime or posing as to raise it to a high plane of silent dramatic performance. It begins in the year 1770 when the portrait of the Lady Anne is hung in the principal drawing-room of her ancestral home. She is wooed by a lover and won, but at a dance she becomes childishly jealous of another girl with whom she finds her lover chatting. She breaks the engagement and the man goes off to war and is killed. She receives a farewell letter before he starts, in which he predicts that she will regret her act as long as she lives. In after years she is stricken with remorse and though she had married another her life had been anything but happy. The story then takes a jump to the year 1912 when the direct descendant of the Lady Anne entertains a party of friends at a weekend gathering in her country home. She, too, is wooed and won by an ardent lover, but she also has a fit of jealousy when he dances with another girl, and rushes to her room in tears. She and a few of her guests had decided to dress in colonial costumes for the dance and in the attic had unpacked a set of gowns worn by her ancestors in the past, her gown being the same worn by the Lady Anne the night of the first ball when she had rejected her lover.”

“Das Motiv des täuschend echt als Tableau vivant inszenierten und sich dann belebenden Gemäldes hält sich auch im einsetzenden narrativen Kino – meist im Zusammenhang mit Traumdarstellungen – und ist dort bis heute beliebt. Frühe Beispiele finden sich u. a. in The Portrait of Lady Anne (Lloyd Lonergan, USA 1912) und An Unsullied Shield (Charles Brabin, USA 1912), in denen die auf dem Gemälde dargestellten Figuren aus dem Rahmen treten.”
Daniel Wiegand: Gebannte Bewegung. Tableaux vivants und früher Film in der Kultur der Moderne. Marburg: Schüren 2016 (Zürcher Filmstudien 36), p. 359 (Fn. 78)