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Lena Rivers (1914);
He Fell in Love with His Wife (1916)

Lena Rivers (1914)
April 5, 2009 - 7:00 pm

Live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

Preservation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Society for Cinephiles

Lena Rivers (1914)

Director unknown

This version of the classic drama Lena Rivers by Cosmos Features was one of a pair released in 1914 (the other from Garrison Films) yet it appears to be the only version still in existence. What also makes the Cosmos version unique is its use of comedy—as in the portrayals of the Slovendyke siblings by actors Charlie De Forest and Carolyn Rankin—to balance out the drama's heavy-handedness. As a result, the film offers modern audiences something more than just a window into the social mores of the past: Namely, laughs!

Cosmos Feature Film Corp. Based on the novel by Mary Jane Holmes and the play by B. Poynter. Screenplay: Beulah Poynter. Cast: Beulah Poynter, Lizzie Conway, Robert Tabor, Charlie De Forest, Charles Hutchinson.

35mm, 60 min.

Preservation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts

He Fell in Love with His Wife (1916)

Directed by William D. Taylor

One of the few surviving works of silent-era director William Desmond Taylor, this melodrama revolves around an unsuspecting housewife, Alida Armstrong (Florence Rockwell), who tragically finds herself a homeless social outcast when the truth about her bigamist husband is revealed. Enter widower-farmer James Holcroft (Forrest Stanley), whose need for a housekeeper compels him to propose a loveless marriage of convenience to the hapless Alida. This unlikely pair discovers their path to happiness fraught with danger, although Taylor wisely alleviates the story's darker overtones with delightful scenes of humor and rustic charm.

Paramount Pictures. Based on the novel by E. P. Roe. Screenplay: Julia Crawford Ivers. Cast: Florence Rockwell, Forrest Stanley, Page Peters, Lydia Yeamans Titus, Howard Davis.

35mm, 50 min.