A Stage Romance (1922)

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This costume drama was an odd vehicle for William Farnum; he was known for his virility and here he has but one fist fight. Playing an actor -- even though he was as famous on stage as he was on celluloid -- was far from his usual type. In addition, this was an adaptation of one of Alexandre Dumas' lesser known plays (in fact, Dumas' novels were what ultimately brought him immortality). It tells the life story of Edmund Kean, an actor of the early nineteenth century who really existed but, as is usual in both the theatrical and cinematic worlds, the truth has been stretched quite a bit. In real life, Kean married in his twenties and later became involved in a scandalous divorce case that ruined his reputation and career; here he has two loves, a countess (Myrtle Bonillas), who is also loved by the Prince of Wales (Holmes Herbert), and Anna Darby, a stage-struck lass (Peggy Shaw). For dramatic effect, Kean is banished to America for denouncing the Prince of Wales. Historical discrepancies aside, the careful attention to period detail marked this as a prestige picture for Fox, and never mind that it was bound to fall flat in the hinterlands.