Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
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Stupid money loving American in the hectic atmosphere of Monte Carlo allows his wife to become seduced by a cad
"The Villa Amorosa - secluded yet within easy reach of Monte Carlo - leased for the season by three members of the Russian aristocracy"
Circular mask over screen. Wrought iron work reading "Villa Amorosa" over gate. Villa Amorosa a white-washed building is set back from the road behind iron railings. A guard (?) walks past as does a lady pushing a pram in the opposite direction. The large house stands at the top of cliffs overlooking the sea. A horse and carriage draw up at the gates.
Inside, a woman, brunette, puts on a shawl and walks outside (the back). Another blonde woman wearing floaty white dress descends a spiral staircase into the room. She also walks out to the pillared balcony. The two women talk as a maid sets a table.
"Her Highness The Princess Olga Petchnikoff"
Shot of the blonde woman with the sea background. Olga seems to scold the maid, who appears upset.
"The Princess Vera Petchnikoff"
Vera sits on the edge of the balcony and blows kisses to a man standing on rocks overlooking the sea firing gun.
"Their cousin, His Excellency Captain Count Vlodislaw Sergius Karamzin". Close up of Count firing gun. Close as gun fires towards camera. Man's head on telescopic arm. Target head with bullet holes. Vlodislaw checks gun. Olga walks out on to balcony. Vlodislaw ascends long staircase up to Villa. Different view of villa. Olga, Vera, maid and Vladislaw on balcony. Group seated at breakfast table. Vera lights long cigarette and passes it to Vlodislaw.
"His 'Eyeopener' oxblood". Count drinks from glass.
"His 'cereal' caviar" Caviar spooned from bowl onto plate. Princess Olga passes plate. Vlodislaw pushes contents onto his plate.
"A propros - Ventucci is coming this afternoon with twenty of the thousand franc notes. He says we can have more in a few days -" "Mon Dieu, how I wish those notes were real!" Vlodislaw smoking cigarette and reading newspaper. "And I also. You don’t know how it distresses me to do this sort of thing - I, a Karamzin". Signor Ventucci and daughter shown into main room by footman in uniform. Daughter holding doll crosses herself, two flame burners alight. Footman approaches Princess and Vlodislaw. "Signor Ventucci and his daughter". Ventucci and daughter arrive at meal table. Ventucci produces packet from jacket pocket. Olga looks around nervously. Olga and Ventucci move away from group. Ventucci passes the envelope to her. The Count smoking looks at Ventucci’s daughter. Slow camera tilt feet to heat of Ventucci's daughter. Looking round cautiously, Vlodislaw approaches Ventucci's daughter. Vlodislaw smoking talks to daughter as she cradles doll.
"Do not fear - Ventucci is an artist - they will pass anywhere". Count Vlodislaw dabs cologne behind his ears and then drinks a little. The daughter sells cologne. The daughter shows bottle of cologne to her doll. Daughter shows perfume to her father. father and daughter depart. Ship with four funnels. On board ship. Line of sailors in uniform. Captain (?) points towards shore. Camera pans across Monte Carlo shore line and Marina.
"Monte Carlo at last - isn't it wonderful!" captain talks to middle-aged couple. They leave and descend from ship's deck. Sailor in uniform pipes. The middle-aged couple descend into a smaller boat moored alongside the ship. Semaphore operator on ship's bridge (?) Smaller boat pulls away from cruiser ship. Two naval guns fire a salute. Ship masks into a small circle. The count reads newspaper "Le Petit Monagasque" Close on newspaper article "Diplomatic Mission" "On Board the US Cruiser "Salem" which anchors today in the Bay of Monaco are Mr & Mrs I Hughes. Mr Hughes is Commissioner Plenipotentiary of the United States to H.S.S. Prince of Monaco, to whom he will hand his credentials today". Vlodislaw passes newspaper to Princess Olga. Vera joins them at the table and she reads newspaper, "Our position here Sergius, is none to secure. To be friends with those important Americans and to be seen with them - would quiet any possible suspicion as to our identity - " "to be accepted by them would re-assure the people we now know - and to prevent others from becoming inquisitive - at least until we can make a big winning and get away". "With your ability, my dear Sergius, you should not find it difficult to make the acquaintance of Mrs Hughes". "At twelve Mr Hughes has an audience with the Prince - and Mrs Hughes will be - alone". "You have always found it so easy to make the acquaintance of - lovely ladies - haven't you Sergius?" Close on Vera "But don't forget that this is business". "You know cousins, I have always had a weakness for American women -" " I think I shall enjoy this undertaking!" Vera throws something at Sergius. Mask irises in as he leaves.
Monte Carlo - Brine of the Mediterranean - Breeze from Alpine snows - Roulette - trente-et -quarante- Ecarte - Mondaine - Cocotta - Kings and Crooks - Amoura! Amoura! and suicides - and waves and waves and waves! Sea and rocks. Screen wipes out from centre to reveal Monte Carlo Square. Crowds in Square. Children playing. Some buses and cars move through crowds. very busy crowds on steps of building. Bath chairs amongst general crowd. Musicians in long coats and hats play in the square, man conducting them Bass player trumpeter and stringed instrument being played. Open truck full of men in uniform pulls up. People jump off. Tram pulls full of people who jump off as it halts. View of Monte Carlo with domed building. Soldiers (?) on horseback with plumed helmets ride through square escorting open carriage. general view of Monte Carlo. man with sash and plumed hat enter hotel ? Hotel room? Man and woman. man answers phone on hotel bedroom wall. Uses two earpieces. "I'll be right down!" "It's the Secretary of State". Man puts on scarf and coat. General view of square. Horse and carriage pull up. carriage drivers in uniform. One jumps down. Man in white uniform climbs out of carriage. Puts long cigarette into his mouth. Nurse pushing man in uniform in wheel chair. Soldiers and sailors pass in different uniforms. Man in top hat and scarf in hotel bedroom. large crowds outside of hotel? Soldiers on horseback raise swords. Crowds waving handkerchiefs. Man in white uniform. High/top shot of crowds outside hotel. Mrs Hughes turns t see Sergius in white uniform. Camera passes u Sergius. Crowds disperse in front of hotel "The Palace of Monaco". View of Palace (poor quality) Stars and Stripes raised on pole beneath another flag. cannons and cannonballs on top castle. Horse and carriage pull in front of steps double sided steps in an arc. Soldiers rush into line. Old soldier in uniform salutes. general view of square. Lady emerges onto ground level balcony. Sergius watches her reading a book. Sergius taps his boot with his walking cane. Sergius gives money to a bell boy in uniform. "I want you to page me out on the terrace - the louder the better!" close on business card "Count Wlodislaw Sergius Karamzin Capitaine 30 Drogons Impev Pectrograd". Two bell boys examine card. One pushes other in the face. Sergius returns to balcony sits and removes gloves. Shot a woman's legs. She pushes down her skirt. Bell boy pages "Count Wlodislaw Sergius Karamzin". Count takes bellboy's message. "I'll give hi an audience at two o'clock." Old soldier stops with wife and greets woman.
"We were very happy to hear in Paris of your husband's appointment." Sergius smokes whilst watching them. Old soldier greets Sergius who whispers to him. Old soldier introduces Sergius to woman. He kisses her hand. A tram passes in background. Large group of dignitaries enter a hall with large candelabra. "His Serene Highness - the Prince of Monaco" Old man sat on a throne He stands. Dignitaries enter towards throne. Dignitaries form line either side of throne. Hughes removes glove to shake hands with Prince. "Your husband will never forgive us for having introduced this notorious heartbreaker - his reputation is international" Count Sergius, Mrs Hughes, old soldier and his wife. Old soldier and his wife leave. Mrs Hughes returns to her seat. "I hope Mr Hughes' business affairs will detain him - indefinitely." Sergius sits with Mrs Hughes. She drops her book on the floor where there is a fan with "Hotel de Paris" painted on it. Sergius picks up the book. Close of cover "Foolish Wives". Sergius opens the book and we see "130 Foolish Wives to the average American, written or unwritten, codes of honour and etiquette are unessential as, in his tiresome chase after the dollar, he has no time to cultivate that, for which the European mainly lives. In his battle of wits fought for commercial superiority the fatigued body forgets sometimes to reset even to the most primitive and fundamental lows of politeness". "Very Good" "This is the first time, Madame - that you are here?" "It is a dangerous place for strangers - so many hungry sharks lying in wait to get hold of one's money - " "If you, Madame, and your husband will permit me - I shall be happy to play the kind of protector - I have been here an know the ins and outs quite well." Again morning - sun draped terrace - sapphire sea - all the world on holiday - rifle fire - brooding doves - brutality of man - and still the sun. View of a large crowd on promenade with band stand ? in the background. A general view of crowds on the promenade. Sergius Vera and Olga with two large white dogs on leads, with crowds behind. Mr and Mrs Hughes greet Sergius and his cousins. The prince of Monaco passes and tips his hat. Large crowds follow behind including soldiers and sailors. Mr and Mrs Hughes, Sergius and his cousins stand and talk. View of sea and rocks and building with flags blowing. View of building canopies billowing. A man emerges holding a shotgun. Behind him is a crowd including the Hughes' and Sergius and his cousins. A man in uniform collects a bird and runs and puts it in a metal cage. Sergius and his party move to a table and sit. A dog returns a dead bird to his handler. Sergius is seated next to Mrs Hughes at the table. Crowds move along the terrace behind. A man wearing headphones calls out on a megaphone. Sergius responds to call moves to collect shotgun. Metal cage opens and bird is there waiting inside. A crowd watches on as Sergius prepares with gun. A man in uniform rolls a cannonball along a path towards the bird which goes into flight. Sergius fires the shotgun, the bird falls to the ground. Man running away from a line of three metal traps. Cage opens to reveal another bird. Sergius fires as crowd watches. Shot of crowd as dog returns with a bird in its mouth. Iris in on scene. "And night - voluptuous - sensuous - erotic - the great procuress of the world!" Iris out on scene of small boats with lanterns at night in a harbour with promenade in the background. Night with musicians on a band stand. Shot of small boats. Small firework in foreground. Hughes waits in hotel foyer. Gentleman waits by lift gates. Woman presses button. Lift arrives seen through metal gates. Mrs Hughes gets into lift with others. Lift descends seen through metal gates. Inside lift, Mrs Hughes drops her purse. Soldier picks it up and returns it to her. Mrs Hughes exits lift to meet her husband. "Where did you get the decorations?" "You mean the orchids? Count Karamzin sent them up. It was very thoughtful of him wasn't it". "He'd better save his money - he might need it!"
The Barcarolle - perfume of the night - murmur of the water - whispers - sights - and kisses -" "Shot of harbour with boats with small lights." Sergius and his cousins and Hughes emerge onto terrace with small boats and fireworks in the background.
"The boats are small and I trust you find my cousins congenial."
The group get into two boats decorated with flowers and lanterns. Mrs Hughes and Sergius in boat. Boat decorated with lanterns, flares and streamers. Night time. Man rowing boat surrounded by streamers. Vera Olga and Mr Hughes and boat. Sergius and Mrs Hughes on boat as before.
"Your husband seems a little piqued tonight? - Did he mind the flowers?"
"Oh no - that's just his way. Andrew is so thoughtless about such things - and like most husbands he doesn't like to be reminded of it."
"Yes - husbands are stupid; with them woman won is a woman secure -"
"But Andrew means well - and underneath it all he really loves me - "
"Why shouldn't he? That's nothing to his credit -"
View again of boats on water. Clock face with Roman numerals and sun in the centre showing 1215. Bedroom Mrs Hughes in night-gown sat on bed putting up her hair. Mr Hughes paces in pyjamas.
"You had a pretty good time tonight - eh?"
"Yes you don't like the count much do you?"
"I certainly - why not? What makes you think I don't?"
"Because you act that way" Mrs Hughes half covered in face cream.
"I think the count is an unusually interesting man -"
"- and please Andrew, don't try to choose my friends for me - remember - I'm free - white and twenty one!"
Mrs Hughes applies more face cream.
"Well I'm married, sunburned and forty one - "
Hughes in pyjamas does elaborate salute.
"But my eyes are pretty good yet!"
The count had permitted his cousin to suggest the Hotel des Reves as the first point of interest to be visited. Horse and carriage pulls up. Man in uniform gets down, helps two dogs out of the carriage. Sergius, Mrs Hughes and one cousin get out of the carriage. Group sits at a table. Small group of children in army helmets appear in the foreground and get moved away. Small boy in large army helmet approaches table. Close up of small boy in army helmet. Sergius starts to serve tea at the table. Iris in? on group
"Women's vanity - flattery - subtle - insistent - busy husbands - idle - foolish - wives" Iris out? on group having tea at a table.
"The country here is very charming - would you like to walk a little - "
"If you two would like it don't mind me - I shall enjoy sitting here quietly."
Sergius stands to go.
"Don't go far and don't get lost. It looks as if it might rain."
Olga watches them, dressed in large tie-on hat. Sergius and Mrs Hughes leave with large white dog on a lead. Group of small children wearing army helmets march through. Iris in on Olga. Storm clouds with lightning. Footmen in uniform, restaurateur and maids rush out to clear tables. Rain starts to fall heavily. Restaurateur piles chairs on top of the tables.
"The count knew the country so well, he was soon able to get himself - hopelessly lost!"
Count and Mrs Hughes panic as it rains, lightning in the sky. A bolt of lightning strikes the handrail of a bridge behind them. The old wooden bridge collapses into the river. River bank with reeds. heavy rain. Sergius lifts Mrs Hughes into his arms and carries her off. She has fainted. he carries her and puts her into a small wooden boat. There is a fast-flowing river and heavy rain. Sergius climbs into boat carrying Mrs Hughes, lays in the boat, gets an oar and pushes the boat out on to the river. Close of Sergius standing paddling the boat down the river. Flashes of lightning. Flash of lightning ignites a bush. The boat is sinking with Mrs Hughes lying in the bottom of the boat as the water rises/. The boat has almost sunk. Sergius climbs out and pulls Mrs Hughes after him. The dog is swimming through the water with the walking stick in his mouth. Sergius wades chest high through water and reeds, still dressed in uniform with hat on. Thick reeds on river bank. Sergius starts to climb from water and reeds but then falls back in. Reel finishes on Sergius wading through dense marshes.
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