Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | Colour + B/W
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A fabulous tale of greed, money, corruption of innocence and very vampy women in glorious clothes - 1920's.
Tinted in pink
"This is the story of a romantic young man who has a passion for saving ladies from real or imaginary difficulties - always like Don Quixote, with the most honourable intent. But the wives of such chivalrous men are not so philanthropically interested in saving other women's souls - however noble and sincere their husbands impulses." "And first among these modern knights, who start out with the best motives, in the firm belief that their wives should 'trust' them - is Anatol de Witt Spencer. Wallace Reid." A pair of feet, dressed in spats, tap the floor impatiently. A mans hand in a pinstripe sleeve fiddles with the arm of a chair. Anatol sits in a study looking around. He glances at his watch. In the doorway to an oriental style room a woman's foot is visible. A woman in a pinafore kneels, a foot stool in front of her, and slowly powders the foot. Anatol, tired of waiting, approaches the door to the room. He pushes a button by the side and it opens. He says "How much longer have I got to wait for breakfast?" The foot wiggles and the maid looks up, saying "Madam says she will be ready in two minutes!" Anatol rolls his eyes and looks at his watch. "Anatols little bride Vivian - who is so happy that she is making the mistake of putting too much honey in the honeymoon. Gloria Swanson" Vivian's face appears over the top of a floral screen. She smiles and talks to him. He looks at his watch. She beckons him over and kisses him, she says "Did bad girl keep her Papa waiting?" He goes to remove the screen but she holds it in place. He looks over her shoulder into a large mirror which reveals her in her underclothes. She stands on a pedestal to kiss him. The maid, seeing them, rolls her eyes, saying "Mush!" Vivian lunges for Anatol and he stops her, saying "Lets not kiss any more, dear, till after breakfast!" She pets him and he turns around, letting himself out of the room. The maid walks up, carrying a heavy robe which she drapes around Vivian. Anatol is stood waiting at a table which is laid with breakfast. Vivian rushes in and throws herself into a chair, holding up her foot to Anatol, saying "Papa buckle Babys shoes?" She wiggles her foot as he sighs and kneels down. She looks on, smiling. She strokes his hair and looks up at him. "But Anatol and Vivian are still in the matrimonial Kindergarten - too busy playing with 'blocks' to know that life had staged their first stern lesson in a midnight café - called the Green Fan"
Tinted in lilac
A building with a grand doorway, above which a mechanical fan slots together to reveal 'The Green Fan' written in silver.
Tinted in orange
Inside, dancers do the can can, in frilly pantaloons, swinging their legs on a stage decorated with fans. The audience sit at tables and mingle, dressed in elaborate evening wear. "In Anatols primer 'E' stands for Emile, a bobbed-headed jazz girl who was, in the forgotten days of the eighth grade, his little sweetheart - Wanda Hawley." Emile, with curled hair under a head band smiles, swaying to the music.
Tinted in pink
On a table three drunk men wearing party hats sway and throw things at one another
Tinted in orange
Emile looks over, she takes up a napkin and throws it at them. As they turn around, she laughs and winks, hiding coyly behind a mask
Tinted in pink.
The man who caught her napkin looks at her through his opera glasses and picks up a rose, throwing it to her.
Tinted in orange
She holds the rose to her lips (End of Colour) but a mans hand wrenches it from her and waves a doll at her. She glares in its direction, looking over her shoulder, embarrassed, to where the man was sitting. "Gordon Bronson - known Down Town as the Man of Iron, but in the Green Fan as the Man of Dough - Theodore Roberts." An older moustached man, chewing on a cigar, shakes the rose at Emile, scolding her. She takes her fork and sticks it in between his knuckles. He gasps and throws down the fork, inspects his hand, then presses the rose onto her arm, saying "I just wanted to impress upon you, my dear, that for you, the Red Rose has thorns!"
Emile sits at the table, sulking. "Fortunately, there is Max Runyon - Anatols friend and shock-absorber - who is doing his best to prevent the Spencers matrimonial bark from going on the rocks - Elliott Dexter." Max sits reading a fan-shaped menu. A waiter stands behind him and Vivian sits to his right, Anatol beside her. Max shows Vivian the menu - 'Calves Head Vinaigrette, Cold Roast Squab, Chicken Salad.' Vivian smiles and shows the menu to Anatol, who reads on - 'Peach Melba…Note - The Café earnestly requests that you watch your own husband as management is not responsible for same." Vivian laughs with them both. Anatol points to where a woman performs in a grass skirt, playing at conducting the orchestra. Emile looks up to see Anatol watching her. She smiles and puts on her lipstick suggestively. Anatol looks on and she turns into a girl with long plaits eating an apple in a classroom. Anatol touches Vivian's arm, saying "That's little Emile Dixon - I knew her years ago in Pompton, New Jersey. She was as sweet as a flower in those days!" Vivian looks over at her. Emiles date Gordon looks around as Anatol blows her a kiss. Gordon takes the glass she's drinking from out of her hand saying "Don't toast any of your 'Apollos' in my Haig and Haig!" She huffs and leans on her elbow. Gordon tips the contents of a hip flask into her glass and gives it to her. Anatol looks on, he shakes his head. He tells Vivian that he's going over to talk to her. Vivian holds him back. He looks down at her, saying "I don't understand your attitude! That child's on the down grade - and we've got to do our best to pull her back!" Vivian folds her arms. Max listens, smiling, he turns to talk to Vivian as Anatol leaves. Anatol walks to Emile's table and greets her. Gordon stands up, but she beckons him back, saying "Kewpie - this is my old friend Tony Spencer! He used to carry my school books for me in Pomton." Couples crowd on stage to dance. Anatol offers Emile his hand and they walk off arm in arm, leaving Gordon chewing his cigar. They dance in front of an elaborate back drop which folds back like a fan to reveal a pale figure on a pedestal. Anatol looks down at Emile, pointing at her bangles, he says "You must be doing awfully well on the stage!" She looks down, ashamed. She motions across and he looks around nervously before they sit down together. She says to him "You remember - I was just a small town girl trying to buck the city game! I couldn't get work - and I'd pawned everything I owned! He's a rich theatrical 'backer' - and empty stomachs and empty pockets don't argue with a square meal and a good job!" They both look across to see Gordon sitting back, lighting his cigar. Anatol looks at her pointedly and she nods sadly. He stands up to leave but she holds him back, saying "Don't hate me - help me. I'm straight and decent - but I'm playing a losing game! You are so big and strong - you could take me out of it all!" She looks up at him, he moves to kiss her but pulls himself away. The comedy grass skirt performer stands behind Vivian and Max. Vivian smiles at her and she pulls a face back at her and launches into song. - "You gotta keep your temper - If you want to keep your Husband!" Vivian glares up at her. Anatol looks up at Emile and smiles, saying "There is a way out, little girl, I'm married to the sweetest woman in the world - and she will help you!" Emile looks up at him, frowning. Gordon glares at her from his table, and makes his way to where the couple stand. He asks Anatol to hand her over, to which he replies "This young lady has placed herself in my care - and my wife and I will see her home!" Vivian watches them. Gordon bursts out laughing. He says "All right son, there's no fool like a young fool! Take her over to your wife and learn how soft and tender good women can be!" Anatol takes Emile's arm and leads her to their table. Gordon looks on, smiling. Vivian and Emile are introduced and Vivian immediately turns to face Max. Anatol looks over to where Gordon laughs. Anatol sits down, his hands on Vivian's shoulders, he says "I want to save this little girl, dear, and you must help me - I told Bronson that we'd take her home with us!" Vivian turns to look at him in disbelief. Emile looks from them to Gordon. She takes out her compact and watches Vivian's reaction in the mirror. Vivian stands up, saying "Will you kindly see me home, Max - as my husband seems otherwise engaged!" She wraps a huge ermine coat around herself and storms off. Max shakes his head at Anatol and follows. Anatol and Emile sit down at his table. He takes a cigarette case out of his pocket and takes one, she dives for one, but he stops her. Gordon pays for his meal and, taking Emile's fur, strides over to where she sits. He looks down at her and says "I think, my dear, you'll be ready now to let me see you home!" Gordon holds out her coat but Anatol stops him and, taking the coat, wraps it around her shoulders. Gordon shrugs and smiles, saying - "Go ahead with your rescue work, son - be noble and educate her! I'll come around in a couple of months and pick up the pieces!" Gordon goes to stroke her cheek and wanders off. Anatol sits down, he fingers a handkerchief Vivian has left on the table, smelling it, a far away look in his eyes. Emile takes the handkerchief from him and says "Your wife doesn't understand you very well - does she?" Anatol shakes his head. Emile puts her hands on his arm and looks into his eyes. "But we wonder if He would be quite so eager to save her soul if her face were less pretty. Or if she would be quite so eager to be saved - if his shoulders were less broad!" Vivian sits in bed, draped in exotic fabric, writing her diary - "Only ten weeks married and Anatol is already rescuing a little blonde hussy." Vivian, looking distraught, curls up. "But saving and educating young ladies is dangerous. And as time goes on, it becomes a question whether Emile is to be saved, or Anatol lost." In a small room, Emile stands, shouldering a violin. Next to her, a man sits at a piano. In the background, woman busy themselves. The man instructs Emile and, in despair snatches the violin from her and demonstrates for her. In the background, one of the girls pulls a face at Emile, who throws something at her in anger. Another girl wanders over to offer her a chocolate. She says to the violin instructor "As a 'Kriesler' I'll say you're a piece of cheese." The tutor looks up to see the girls eating and is outraged. She offers him one and he chases the girl off, brandishing the violin bow. He gives Emile back the violin and, to calm him down, she puts her arm around him. The two girls, setting down the box of chocolates, put on a record and start to dance cheek to cheek. Emile, hearing the music, forgets the violin and starts to bob to the music.
The instructor, covering his ears, takes the violin from her and snatches up his coat and hat. She shimmies after him. Anatol arrives at the door to the flat just as the violin teacher is storming out. The girls hear Anatol advancing and Emile cries out "It's Anatol! Quick, hide the cocktails!" Meanwhile, at the door, the violin teacher looks up Anatol saying "To think of me, a pupil of the great Blatsky, trying to teach a brainless cabbage to play the violin!" Anatol closes the door after him. In the hallway he looks up to see a painting hung with party decorations. He beckons to Emile, who sits demurely with her friends, to explain. She says "He looked so darn sad in his tin suit, that I trimmed him with champagne corks to cheer him up!" She takes a huge bunch of roses, that the maid has delivered, out of their box, smiling and asking Anatol if they're from him. He shakes his head wearily. The note reads "If you're tired of being rescued I'm still waiting. G.B" Emile looks at him fearfully and Anatol reads the note, ripping it from the roses. Emile looks down to see that the bundle has a diamond brooch attached to it. She jumps and smiles, pinning it to her lapel. Anatol watches her and rips it off her saying "Go and get me all the jewels that Bronson has given you!" She looks at him sadly, then slopes off. "Confession may add to the wealth of the soul, but it is apt to impoverish the jewel box." Emile sets down a tray of boxes. Anatol looks them over, saying "If you are honest - why did you take these jewels?" She says "I was dazzled with the fairyland of wealth that he painted - and he even said that he wanted to marry me!" Emile dreams that she is sitting in a sequined gown, black feathers in her hair, on a long swing in a room made of mirrors. Gordon stands beside her, happily pushing the swing. He holds it still and takes out of his pocket, a box filled with a jewelled necklace. She takes it happily, Gordon looks on, smiling. Coming back to reality, Anatol strokes her head, saying "If you want to prove to me that you're on the level - you'll throw this rotten junk into the river!" She stares at him, shaking her head. He says - "If you're too greedy to give up these jewels - you forfeit my friendship right now!" He stands up, moving towards the door, but she races to stop him. He says "Will you go with me now - and throw this stuff into the river?" She looks up at him and nods sadly. She puts her arms around his neck. He goes to kiss her but stops himself. He shakes his head at her. "No sooner is a temple built to God - But the Devil builds a chapel hard by." Emile is packing her jewels into a case. She comes across a long necklace decorated with diamond flowers, she holds it up against her, smiling. She sighs, holding a photograph of Anatol to her. A crafty look comes over her face. Anatol stands waiting for her outside the door. She throws her arms around her jewels. She quickly hides the necklaces and bracelets around the room, and fills the case with the empty boxes. "An hour later - the famous old bridge. Silent witness to mans ability and stupidity - watches the solemn scene of Emile's 'purification'." On a huge bridge, Emile and Anatol drive up and step out of his car. She peers down through the cables to the boats sailing below. He passes the boxes to her from inside the case. She says "Don't open them, Tony. I might weaken!" She throws them over the side one at a time. She then turns to Anatol, saying - "Now that I've done everything you've asked me to, won't you come up tonight - and talk about my future?" He nods at her. "A woman demands one thing when she's let a man rescue her soul - and that is the gift of his heart." Anatol sits in a dinner jacket in Emile's sitting room. She leans over him, holding out a lit taper. She takes the cigar from his hand, bites off the end for him, the lights it, blowing out the flame. She pats him on the head, and settles down next to him. She shows him a locket hung around her neck. He opens it to find a picture of himself inside. She says - "You are the only jewel I have now, dear!" He looks at her nervously. She takes from a box a small round photograph of herself and leans over to pull his watch from his pocket. She opens it to find a photograph of Vivian inside. She frowns down at it, then, smiling, finds a small pair of scissors in her box and goes about removing it. Anatol stops her. She, looking hurt, says - "It's all very fine for me to give up everything for you, isn't it? But what are you going to give up for me?" He demands she give him back the watch. She drapes herself around his shoulders, saying "You're all I've got in the world, Tony! You've taken me away from all of my friends - don't you think you owe it to me to give her up?"
Anatol looks at her, disturbed, his brow knotted. He demands the watch back. She lunges for it with the scissors. He takes it and, looking inside, sees that the photograph of Vivian has been scratched. Anatol stands up, Emile holds his arm, saying - "I'll give you one more chance - will you, or will you not divorce her?" Anatol looks down at her, shaking his head and walks out. Emile runs to him, but he slams the door. Dejected, she wanders over to the bunch of roses sent by Gordon. Then, crushing one in her hand, sits down at the telephone. She rips the locket from around her neck and flings it down. On the other end of the telephone, Gordon sits, smoking a cigar. He picks up the receiver. Emile says - "Kewpie, you were right - I'll never make High-Brow! So I'm giving a little dinner tomorrow night - and you can come, if you come with the right spirits!" Emile, putting down the 'phone looks around, miserable. Gordon laughs to himself. Emile kisses the photograph of Anatol, then throws it across the room, ripping up the roses and showering them over her head. "For centuries the moth has been lured by the flame - and no amount of moralizing can keep it from the blaze." Vivian and Max sit laughing together, playing chess. Behind them sits Anatol. As he rises to talk to them, Vivian's face clouds over. He leans down to her to say - "If you don't mind, dear, I'll take a run over to see Emile. We've had a little misunderstanding - and one shouldn't quarrel with old friends." Vivian shrugs her shoulders, ignoring him. He gets out his pocket watch to look at the time and she sees in it that the photograph of her face has been scratched out. She looks up at him sadly and motions he go. Max smiles to himself. As Anatol leaves, she looks over at Max, saying "I wonder, Max, why I didn't marry a nice sensible man like you!" He seizes her hand and kisses it, looking into her eyes. Suddenly, they both look nervous, then confused, then smile. "And he learned about women from her" At a table six guests sit laughing. Gordon stands, opening a bottle of Champagne. Emile looks on, smiling. Gordon helps her up onto the table, where she stands, swaying. Anatol arrives at the door and the maid, making an excuse, tries to turn him away. But as he leaves he looks behind to see the silhouette of Emile pouring Champagne into Gordon's mouth. Anatol clenches his fists and barges past the maid. In the dining room, the guests clap and laugh. Emile stands on the table drinking. She looks around to see Anatol watching from the doorway. He walks up and nods to the guests. He takes her glass and toasts the table, saying "Let's drink to the Boobs - the men who pin their faith to pretty cheats like you - and get stung!"
He sips the champagne and breaks the glass. He looks at her to see that she is dripping with the jewels that she had pretended to throw in the river. Gordon laughs up at him from his seat, saying "Don't take it so hard, Son - you remember I said I'd come back to pick up the pieces!" The other guests smile at each other. Anatol speaks to the crowd - "Ladies and gentlemen, I must ask you to leave, as my party is about to commence!" The guests leave, Emile reaches out to them, begging them to stay. Anatol walks over to Gordon and says - "You came to pick up the pieces, did you - well I'm going to give you the chance!" He starts to smash up the flat, the guests outside go to help, then leave. Gordon looks on, smiling. He says "Go ahead, Son, if it amuses you - they're all yours!" He carries on breaking everything in the flat, chairs, paintings, lamps, tables. Emile dives for the telephone and he rips it out of her hands. She collapses down, sobbing. Gordon watches, smiling, he passes Anatol a violin to break. Anatol stops and hands something over to Gordon, saying - "These belong in your family album" Gordon looks down - it's a model of three pigs. He points at Emile, saying "I'm going to give you your last music lesson" He shoves her out the way and goes about smashing the piano. Emile lies in a heap on the floor. Anatol says to her "What are you crying for - you've saved your jewels! You can show the world your crimson rubies - and a yellow streak! Your square-cut emeralds - though you don't know the meaning of square! Your blue white diamonds - though your soul's as black as ink!" Anatol bows to Gordon saying "The pieces are yours!" He leaves. Gordon, smiling, looks at Emile and slyly takes a box from his pocket. He pulls out a string of pearls and dangles it in front of his face. She looks up at him. He says -"Perhaps, my dear - your broken heart and furniture can both be mended with this little wedding present!" He smiles down at her. She takes the pearls, sniffling and holds them up against her. She presses them against her cheek, smiling. "The Bible tells us that when the prodigal son returned it was his father who prepared the fatted calf - there is no mention of what his wife did." In a tall elaborate hallway, Vivian, dressed in a black gown, turns out the lights and walks slowly up a set of steps in the dark. Anatol bursts through the door and, seeing her standing there, smiles at her. She stands in the archway, looking at him coldly. He rushes over to her and clutches her arm, saying "If you ever see me trying to rescue any woman again - for heavens sake, dear, rescue me!" He bows his head, and Vivian puts her arm around him, a sly look coming over her face. He turns out the hall lights and they walk up the stairs. "And all might have gone well if Vivian hadn't determined to cure Anatol of midnight suppers - by substituting afternoon teas." In a packed tea rooms, well dressed men and women sit together. A man plays the piano. Three woman light cigarettes together, they sit talking. Anatol stands over them, hoping to interrupt, holding up a tray of chocolates. A waiter wanders up and offers them drinks. Through a stage curtain, guarded either side by Indian guards in traditional dress, Vivian emerges, smiling to the crowd. She says -"I have a wonderful surprise for you! Mr Nazzer Singh, the world famous hypnotist, has consented, as a special favor, to entertain us this afternoon."
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