All silent movie revviews are complete and unabridged

Starring Douglas Fairbanks
October 1, 1915

After viewing "The Lamb," it is no wonder the Triangle people signed up Fairbanks for a period of three years, at any salary within reason. They would even have been justified in stretching a point to secure Douglas. He "registers" on the screen as well as any regular film actor that has ever appeared in pictures and more strongly than most of them. "The Lamb's" leading lady also photographs well, and both of them are good performers which is "an ace in the hole" to start with. The casting of William E. Lowery for the character of a Yaqui Indian chief is also worthy of special mention. "The Lamb" is a Willie Collier type of play - only more so, which means that Fairbanks was competent to invest the name part with just the requisite amount of "lightness." Gerald, the Lamb (Fairbanks), is a rich young man who never had to earn his own living. He is engaged to Mary (Seena Owen), but when she discovers he is a coward, she calls it off. Gerald goes into training with a prizefighter and a Jiu Jitsu wrestler, with the determination to "make good" in the eyes of his girl. The girl goes to a ranch in Arizona, and he follows. En route, he leaves the train to buy some trinkets and is left behind. Hiring a machine to overtake the train via a short cut, he is knocked out by crooks who lift his bankroll. He is captured by Yaquis and taken across the border into Mexico and held as prisoner. The girl is also captured, and after a series of hair-breadth encounters, he finally puts up a marvelous fight, standing off the Indians with a rapid firing machine gun. The operation of the gun by Fairbanks is a combination of thrills and comedy, culminating in the pair's rescue by American troopers. Columns of praise would not do complete justice to 'The Lamb.' It is the classiest kind of melodramatic comedy, wonderfully staged, brilliantly acted and humorously captioned." The New York Times was equally impressed. "For some years a favorite comedian of the legitimate stage, he then made his first appearance in motion pictures. For some mysterious reason, he succeeds where others fail. His engaging personality easily and undeniably 'registers' - as the film folk say. He is amusing, graphic, individual, effortless. He even has a humorous walk of his own, and no one in last evening's audience at The Knick will be overcome with surprise if he attains a motion picture popularity such as the distinguished Mr. Chaplin has experienced."

Starring Douglas Fairbanks
December, 1915

Typewriter drivers should be licensed, like chauffeurs. One reckless unlicensee declared that the cavalry charge in "The Lamb" - feature offering of the first Triangle bill - surpassed the terrific ride of the clans, in "The Birth of the Nation." Others acclaimed the play a worthy second to the Griffith drama.

Here's what "The Lamb" really is, it seems to me: a rollicking, typically American melodrama, presenting Douglas Fairbanks, one of America's best known, best liked and most continually agreeable stage personalities. Improbable - quite, and to one who knows the desert, just a little bit absurd when one is asked to believe it. Comparing "The Birth of a Nation" and "The Lamb" is like comparing Blazac and one of our popular story-writers of today; it's so unfair to today's man.

Gatling-gun fire is not the essence of thrill, any more than gunfire on the bass-drum is the essence of dramatic emotion.

For more information, see "The Lamb" as one of our "Featured Silent Films"

Return to Silent Film Reviews page