Thanhouser’s Stars

The Marble Heart
B: Charles Selby (play). D: James Cruze, Marguerite Snow, Florence LaBadie, William Russell, Burton Law. P: Thanhouser Film Company. USA 1913
Print: Museum of Modern Art

“This story, already a well-known English play of 1854 adapted from an earlier French play, casts the three most popular Thanhouser adult stars in a story of unrequited love, with a dream sequence that parallels the main story. Pale makeup is especially noticeable in some scenes, the answer to orthochromatic film’s blotchy-dark rendering of skin tones. Within a couple of years the technique of film makeup, filtering and lighting would be greatly improved.”

King Rene’s Daughter
R: W. Eugene Moore. B: Henrik Hertz (play). D: Maude Fealy, Harry Benham, Mignon Anderson, David Thompson, William Russell, Robert Broderick. P: Thanhouser Film Company. USA 1913

“In the title role, of which Miss Dorothea Baird used to give so exquisitely lovely an interpretation, appears Miss Maude Fealy, who is the possessor of precisely that ‘spirituelle’ kind of beauty which the part demands. In consequence, she is always charming to look upon, whilst her acting is notable for its gentle grace. Mr. Robert Broderick gives a robust and dignified performance as the king. The various principal characters are introduced to the audience at the commencement of the film in a manner which, as far as we are aware, is quite unique. By means of double photography, each player is seen in modern dress on one side of the screen, and in costume on the other side. Besides being rather a striking novelty, this system allows one to appreciate to the full the value of ‘make up.’ Many of the garden scenes introduced are perfectly lovely, and would be worth seeing on their own account. It is a dainty picture, and one which will doubtless meet with popular approval.”
The Bioscope, August 28, 1913

Madam Blanche, Beauty Doctor
R: Arthur Ellery. B: Lloyd F. Lonergan. D: Harry Benham, Riley Chamberlin, Mrs. S. Stevens, Mignon Anderson, Ray Johnston, Edward N. Hoyt, Morgan Jones, Ethel Jewett. P: Thanhouser Film Company. USA 1915
Print: BFI

“A good example of the clever light comedy Thanhouser produced for its Falstaff label, while other studios cranked out broad slapstick comedies. Harry Benham and Mignon Anderson were versatile and popular Thanhouser stars, here showing considerable skill in light comedy, a genre that invites plenty of satirical social observation such as the burgeoning beauty-salon industry here. Cinema technique shows much more intricate editing and freer use of closeups than just a year or two earlier.”

Harry Benham