Gloria's Romance (1916)

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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

This romantic serial in 20 chapters is the proof that chapterplays were not geared solely to kids and less sophisticated adults in the silent era as they would be after the advent of sound in 1929. Producer George Kleine reportedly paid Broadway star Billie Burke a whopping 140,000 dollars to play the starring role in Gloria's Romance, a serial with a budget of an equally impressive 650,000 dollars. Unfortunately, the money was not well spent as audiences turned thumbs down on both the serial -- basically romantic episodes in the love life of a spoiled little rich girl -- and Burke, who had to wait until middle age to become a bona fide movie star (The Wizard of Oz, Topper Returns, etc.). In 1914, she had married Broadway entrepreneur Florenz Ziegfeld, who went on to guide his wife's screen career with very little success.