American Citizen (1914)

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Produced by Famous Players, a company specializing in static but prestigious stage adaptations, An American Citizen, based on a play by Madeline Lucette Ryley, served as the screen debut for John Barrymore. Still in the bloom of youth, "The Great Profile" had a field day re-creating his stage role as a young American broker at large in London. In order to recoup his lost fortune, the hero must consent to marry a wealthy heiress, played by Evelyn Moore. Barrymore is resistant to this marriage of convenience, but ends up falling in love with the girl anyway. Happily, he is able to marry for love instead of money by film's end, when a chancy business investment unexpectedly yields a fortune. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who had trouble shedding their theatrical postures and "scaling down" their performances for the more intimate medium of film, John Barrymore adapted to movies with the greatest of ease, and remained a top cinematic attraction for two decades.