Movie 36min

The Vicar Of Wakefield (1913)

A squire has a poor vicar jailed for debt and fakes a marriage to his daughter.
Not rated.

+ 6 images
Director Frank Wilson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
(USA, 29 Dec., 1913) Blinkhorn Photoplays
Based on Novel Black and White Catholic Priest Drama Integrity Lie Morality Priest Prison Short Silent Film Wedding

WITH the exception of a few scenes which the subtitles in the print shown did not sufficiently explain, the "Vicar of Wakefield," the latest three-part Hepworth feature drama, to be presented in America by Albert Blinkhorn, 110 West Fortieth street, New York City, is a production of unusual excellence. Based on the famous story by Oliver Goldsmith, although greatly modified to meet the limits of the film, the presentation should prove popular. The photography is excellent, the acting of the best, and the action, staged as it is on scenes similar to those portrayed in Gildsmith's masterpiece, is of a character that holds the interest during most of the film.

In one or two respects, however, the direction of the piece invites criticism. Several scenes are not clearly explained. For instance, it is not demonstrated why Jenkinson, the manservant of the wicked Richard Thornhill, and the clergyman who performed the mock-marriage, which turns out to be real, happen to be in jail with the Vicar. The reason for Sir William Thornhill's presence there also, is not fully made plain. Just why the two dissolute female companions of Richand Thornhill are dragged into the action, for the sole purpose apparently of extending an invitation to the Vicar's daughters to come to London, a trip which never takes place, and is quite unessential to the development of the story as produced, is another point that is not quite clear, unless it is an excuse to bring in the scene at "Ye Olde English Fair."

* * *

THE theme of the production deales with the attentions of the dissipated Richard Thornhill, nephew of Sir William Thornhill, to the pretty daughters of the Vicar, Olivia and Sophia. Suspecting his 'nephew's designs, Sir William Thornhill disguises himself and after meeting the Vicar's family overhears a conversation which confirms his suspicions. The scenes which ensue in the first part show Richard trying to get Olivia, with whom he is infatuated, and her sister to arrange to go to London with him, at the invitation of two dissolute women, whose aid he has obtained. Moses, the weakminded son of the Vicar, is sent by the family to the fair to sell their colt in order to obtain funds to finance the trip to London. He returns without money, having traded the colt for a stock of green spectacles.

This part is really a digression from the progress of the plot and in no way adds to it, especially as the audience is given no intimation previously of Moses' mental limitations. From this point forward, however, the action is excellent, and there is little which could be elided without detracting from the development of the story.

Failing to persuade the Vicar's daughters to go to London, Richard Thornhill finally gains Olivia's consent to run away

with him. He plans a. mock marriage, but through the enmity of Jenkinson, his body-servant, it is made a genuine ceremony. Later, tiring of Olivia, he tells her their wedding -was not binding. She flees from him and is found by the Vicar, her father, at an inn, where she has sought refuge.

* * *

RICHARD THORNHILL. repenting of his haste in casting Olivia off, seeks her again at her father's house, which is owned by him. When his demands are scorned he throws the Vicar into prison as a debtor. Here the Vicar meets Jenkinson and the clergyman who had performed the marriage between Olivia and Thornhill, and wins their friendship.

The Vicar's family go to see him, and Jenkinson, recognizing Olivia, becomes remorseful. Richard also visits the prison to taunt the old man. His uncle, Sir William, who has come to aid the VicaF, encounters him. He reproaches his nephew for his conduct to his wife, and is told that Olivia is not a wife, as the ceremony was a mock one.

His statement is confuted by Jenkinson, who produces the marriage certificate and the clergyman who performed the ceremony, greatly to the confusion of Richard Thornhill.

Sir William, after paying the debt for which the Vicar is being detained, escorts the venerable parson and his family back home, where all is again peace and happiness.

The Hepworth stock company, which produced the "Vicar of Wakefield" in able fashion, includes Warwick Buckland, Harry Gilbey, Harry Buss, Jack Raymond, Marie De Solla, Chrissie White, Ruby Belasco and Claire Pridelle.

Source: The Motion Picture News - Jan 3, 1914

Albert Blinkhorn Shows Interesting Three-Part Adaptation of Goldsmith's Famous Novel.

THOSE who have read "The Vicar of Wakefield" are not to be blamed for wondering how a fairly faithful screen interpretation of the eighteenth century story can possibly serve as entertainment. Tlierc is in this tale of the minister who was also farmer and philosopher-controversialist so much of sorrow and misfortune and humiliation that none but a brave man would attempt to transfer the classic to the screen. It must be admitted that the producer has succeeded and beyond question in giving us a charming picture. Naturally there are many incidents in the book for which there is not room in a three-part picture. For instance, there is no appearance of the older son, who is made to wander over Europe, the story of which must have been in large

measure a recounting of the personal experiences of the author; who comes home and enters the army, only to return for the purpose of avenging the stain put upon the family honor by the libertinous Thornhill, and, after his failure, is landed bleeding and chained in the cell with the Vicar. The fine romance of George and Miss Wilmot also is among the missing. The loss of the Vicar's fortune and its ultimate restoration is untouched. We see practically nothing of the destitution into which the Vicar's family was plunged; and the elimination of this phase of the life of the worthy old man makes for the better entertainment.

What will first strike the observer in "The Vicar of Wakefield" are the backgrounds. You step into the atmosphere in the first scene. So marked is it that you instinctively feel the picture could have been made nowhere but in England. Much attention has been given to the costumes, a matter of much importance in a story written a hundred and fifty years ago. The same care has been, bestowed on the interiors. The acting is good. Warwick Buckland is the Vicar. It is a difficult role, one requiring good judgment to avoid the pitfalls in the portrayal of a man who subordinated the natural instincts of a man and a father to the dictates of a highly developed conscience, a supersensitive one, a layman would say. One of the best interpretations is that of Mrs. Mary pe Solla as the wife of the Vicar. She shows us the ambitious mother, always studying how to make the best appearance, how to marry her daughters to their advantage and to the family honor, and to the end refusing to concede that reversal in financial status had altered the social position of her family. Jack Raymond plays Richard Thornhill His delineation of the young rake shows us a man who hardly conceals his true character; he is inclined to be overbold and to lack the finesse, the suavity, the polish, that make so deep a first impression on the feminine heart. The two women friends of Richard, the two whom he employs to decoy Olivia and Sophia to London, are convincing. Their deportment is such as to deceive those more worldlywise than the Vicar and his family. Harry Buss is Mr. Jenkinson, the rascal who on an important occasion played his unscrupulous employer false and secured for a marriage ceremony a real clergyman instead of a bogus one. The picture is well photographed.

Source: George Blaisdell, in The Moving Picture World, 27 Dec, 1913

— Sir Wm. Thornhill wishes to keep a close watch on his nephew. Richard Thornhill, who is a dissipated young fellow. In order to follow him more closely, he disguises himself and is introduced as a stranger, to the vicar, to his wife, their two daughters. Olivia and Sophia, and their son, Moses. Richard now appears in the company of two women friends of questionable reputation and is introduced to the vicar's family. In the meanwhile, Sir William has secreted himself and overhears the entire conversation. Richard is infatuated with Olivia, and by the aid of his two women companions, induces Olivia to arrange to go to London with him. In order to replenish his daughter's wardrobe, the vicar is forced to raise some money. His son, Moses, agrees to take their horse to "Ye olde English Fair." Here he foolishly exchanges the horse for a large amount of green spectacles. Upon his return home, he learns that the spectacles are of no aid to the family's finances.

Finally Richard persuades Olivia to run away with him. In order to accomplish this, he promises to marry her: but he does not intend to carry out his promise as he instructs his man, Jenkinson, to arrange a mock ceremony. Jenkinson, however, has borne a secret grudge against his master, and sees a chance for revenge. He arranges for a genuine ceremony. We see Olivia leaving her home late at night and meeting Richard, who has a carriage waiting. The bridal couple arrive at the home of a priest and the ceremony is performed. Richard, unsuspectingly signs the certificate, which Jenkinson secures for further use.

On the following morning, the vicar learns that his daughter, Olivia, has disappeared and the reason is made clear when Moses, who had met Jenkinson and learned the truth, tells his father the whole story. The old man arms himself with two pistols, and is about to depart with an evil Intention, when his wife persuades him to give up the idea of murder by opening a Bible and pointing to the commandment, "Thou Shalt not Kill." Putting aside the weapons he leaves to search for his daughter. At Richard's borne he is denied knowledge of their master's whereabouts by the servants.

Richard eventually becomes tired of Olivia and treats her very badly. She reproaches him for his conduct, but he informs her that she is not his wife as the ceremony had been a mock one. She leaves him and finds shelter in an inn. Fate brings her father, who is weary and footsore, to the same place and the two meet. She returns home with her father and after some deliberation is forgiven by her mother. Richard soon thinks that he would like to have Olivia back again and goes to her father with a most insulting and degrading offer. The vicar is a tenant and in debt to Richard, and is offered the alternative of imprisonment for debt or permitting his daughter to return to him. Naturally the old man won't listen to the scoundrel's words, and is arrested and carried off to the debtors' prison. Here he meets Richard's one-time accomplice, Jenkinson, and the two become very friendly. The vicar's family visit him in the prison and Jenkinson recognizes Olivia and becomes remorseful, Richard also visits the prison to taunt the old man, but is surprised to find his uncle on the scene. His uncle reproaches him for his conduct to his wife, but he maintains that she is not his wife, as the ceremony was a mock one. But what a change comes over him when Jenkinson appears and produces the certificate and the priest who performed the ceremony. Richard is entirely overcome and beaten. Sir William, after paying the debt for which the vicar is being detained, escorts the old man and his family back to their home, where all is peace and happiness once more.

Source: The Moving Picture World - Dec 20, 1913

Where the maintenance of a uniformly high standard of general technical excellence is concerned, we do not think that any firm of manufacturers can compare with the Hepworth Company. At any rate, it is certain that none surpasses them in this matter. So used has one become to this wonderful technical perfection, that one does not, perhaps, always accord it the praise it deserves. "Hepworth photography" has become almost a criterion in the industry, and one finds the same high proficiency in all the other technical details which goes to the making of a picture play, including the stage arrangements, the lighting, the choice of natural backgrounds, and even the less individual part of the acting.

In "The Vicar of Wakefield," the Hepworth Company's latest big "exclusive," we have this well-known technical perfection almost more marked than ever before. It may, indeed, be said to be the "last word" in technical excellence, and it represents the professional cinematographer at his very best. If, as a play, it does not reach altogether so high a level, one must blame the subject matter The beauty rather than the treatment thereof. The beauty and charm of Goldsmith’s famous novel are so delicate and intangible that it must necessarily be difficult to interpret them with complete success when deprived of the use of words, upon which they so largely depend in the original. Nevertheless, the Hepworth Company have done entirely as well as they could in the circumstances, and, although it is not to be expected that the film can take the place of the novel, the former makes a very delightful and effective entertainment when regarded separately as a distinct work of art. As may he imagined, the story gives opportunity for numerous exquisitely lovely pictures, and it is unnecessary to say that these have been made the most of throughout the film by the producers. The play is excellently acted by a large company of well-known players, particularly fine performances being given by Mrs. Marie de Solla, who makes a stately and loveable Mrs. Primrose, and; by Mr. Harry Buss, who is vigorously in earnest as Jenkinson. Altogether, it is a most satisfactory production, and one which might be presented to any audience with entire confidence.

Source: The Bioscope, Oct 30, 1913

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Violet Hopson - Olivia Primrose
Harry Royston - Richard Thornhill
Warwick Buckland - Dr Charles Primrose
Chrissie White - Sophia Primrose
Jack Raymond - Moses Primrose
Marie de Solla - Mrs Primrose
Harry Gilbey - Sir William Thornhill
Claire Pridelle - Lady
Harry Buss - Jenkinson
John MacAndrews - Minister
Jamie Darling - Innkeeper
Oliver Goldsmith - Author (Novel)
Blanche MacIntosh - Writer
Frank Wilson - Director
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