starring Marion Davies and Forrest Stanley
November, 1922

Here is an American made romantic production gloriously decorative. For this we must give our thanks to Joseph Urban, scenic creator extraordinary. Director Robert Vignola deserves his share of praise for keeping a fine grip on a difficult story. Cosmopolitan spared no expense in filming the tale.

Back in the days of swashbuckling fiction, Charles Major turned out this "best seller" of the gay reign of Henry VIII. Mr. Major made the saucy, fiery tempered hoyden, Mary Tudor, his heroine, revolving his romance around her turbulent love for Charles Brandon and her ill-starred royal marriage to Louis XII of France.

Marion Davies is the petulant Mary Tudor, the role once done behind the footlights by the glorious Julia Marlowe. Miss Davies puts more variety into the role than in anything she has heretofore contributed to the silversheet. Forrest Standing (sic) is the heroic Charles Brandon. Lynn Harding's Henry VIII has many moments of excellence but, personally, we prefer Emil Jannings as the much-married king. William Norris seems to overdo the senile Louis XII, but his moments just before his death are superbly limned. There are a number of able players present, but none of them offers a more clean cut bit than George Nash in a few brief moments as a roystering adventurer.

True, the photoplay lacks in character humanizing and in the Germanic touch of historic reality. There are moments when it seems to us Director Vignola could have attained greatr suspense. But, then, too, there are moments to be long remembered. There is the Urban arrangement of lights and setting when Mary Tudor kneels in prayer. Here is superb cinema painting. And, then again, there is a piquant glimpse of Mary Tudor in bed.

starring Marion Davies and Forrest Stanley
December, 1922

It doesn't take a particularly keen sense of discrimination to select "When Knighthood Was in Flower" (Cosmopolitan) as the most magnificent screen spectacle of the season. Look back into yesterday and you will fail to remember many picture which eclipses this film version of Charles Major's stirring and richly colored story for sheer loveliness of settings, costumes and lighting effects.

Dr. Urban has unlocked his Cabinet and brought forth some tapestries and colors of almost unbelievable beauty. His backgrounds have never been excelled. With one sweep of the brush he does away with the argument that artistic pictures based upon historical romance cannot be done on this side of the Atlantic. So much for the pictorial appeal.

In this day, when the ghosts of the dear departed are stalking abroad, it is quite likely that Henry the Eighth and his Tudor kin have looked unseen upon this achievement. It is quite likely that he asked his relatives - "So this is Hampton Court?" And he possibly expressed the wish that he could live forever in such opulent surroundings.

It doesn't matter whether the present generation is familiar with the story or not. The point is, it is a picturesque drama of English romance which is vivid and compelling - told in an admirable and dignified way and sticking closely to its main argument that Bluff King Hal did not care to have his rebellious little sister, Mary, associating with a mere captain of the guards when she could become queen of France by merely exposing her seductive charm to Louis XII, that ancient and decrepit romancer. Do you blame her for being disobedient to the royal command? Can you blame her for liking Charlie Brandon, the commoner - with youth, virility and romantic fervor on his side?

It was a hazardous job protecting him from her brother's hatred. Drastic measures were employed by both - and Mary, being a Tudor, fought Harry with all the combative traditions of the family name. Feminine wiles were useless in making success of her cause. If you know history, Major, Shakespeare, and Harry, you will remember that this autocratic ruler had the last word. Wives appeared and disappeared like the pitchers on the Giants' ball team. So, at the price of saving Brandon's head from dropping into the basket, Mary consented to marry Louis, tho with the stipulation that she should be allowed to choose her second husband for herself. The King of France didn't remain long a benedict.

These figures, with a whole galaxy of others, make their entrances and exits thru Urban's impressive settings - settings which dazzle the eye with their size and beauty, yet are never out of harmony with the story itself.

But what of Robert G. Vignola, the director? Isn't he responsible for the artistic effort of the cast and the dramatic construction of the story? Didn't he animate the entire play? Give him credit for putting forth one of the finest touches of the picture - the scene showing Marion Davies at prayer as her beloved is about to be executed.

Miss Davies, incidentally, gives a surprisingly good performance as Mary. She has seemingly caught the spirit of the role - playing at all times with feeling and assurance. She is especially delightful in her scenes with her rascally brother, Harry. The other members of the cast played flawlessly - a cast comprising names which read like a blue book of stage and screen. Lynn Harding as Henry has stepped right out of a Holbein. His resemblance is marvelous. And he is the king to the life as Shakespeare and history have drawn him - bluff, jovial, brutal, relentless and autocratic. An unforgettable portrait. William Norris' Louis XII is a joyful study - a truly comic King - played with a keen sense of satire and subtle buffoonery. We mention these three because they dominate the picture, but the work of Pedro de Cordoba, Forrest Stanley, Arthur Forrest, Ruth Shepley and William H. Powell is especially noteworthy.

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