Paradise Garden (1917)
Directed by Fred J. Balshofer
Genres - Comedy Drama | Countries - United States |
Synopsis by Hal Erickson
"Debauchery amongst the rich and famous" was the theme of the exotically produced Paradise Garden. Having come into a huge sum of money, man-about-town Jerry Bernham (Harold Lockwood) is gently coerced into throwing a series of wild parties at his palatial Long Island estate. The instigator of these bacchanals is Marcia Van Wyck (Virginia Rappe), a woman of questionable morals. Finally realizing that he's being led down the road to perdition, Jeff angrily orders Marcia out of his house, but not before stripping her of the expensive gown which she inveigled him into buying. Existing footage from The Pleasure Garden exhibits an unbridled eroticism rare even for 1917, complete with nude female dancers and "water nymphs." Though singularly unattractive and none too talented, leading lady Virginia Rappe exudes a raw animal passion that is still capable of steaming up the screen. Rappe's short career, and life, would come to an end during a drunken party held by comedian Fatty Arbuckle in 1921. Accused of Rappe's murder (she died of a ruptured bladder, and it was alleged that the comedian had raped her), Arbuckle was eventually acquitted of all charges, but the ensuing scandal utterly ruined his career. Paradise Garden is evidently the only surviving film of the unfortunate Virginia Rappe; unavailable outside of archival screenings, it was given its first public showing in over sixty years as part of the Hollywood TV series produced by Thames Television.
dress, estate, party, vamp, wild [undomesticated]