For Husbands Only (1918)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Completed in late 1917, the Lois Weber-Phillips Smalley production For Husbands Only received its first New York playdate in September of 1918. Reminiscent of George Bernard Shaw's Fanny's First Play, the story revolves around a wealthy playboy (Lewis Cody) who stages amateur theatricals in his Park Avenue mansion. Despite his dramatic inclinations, Cody's main purpose in life is to seduce as many young ladies as possible. Mildred Harris, one of Cody's intended victims, decides to teach the rakish hero a lesson. Upon getting married, Harris pretends to be in love with Cody and arranges several romantic "trysts," always managing to leave Cody panting before anything serious can happen. During a weekend party at Cody's mansion, Harris announces that she would like to stage a play for the entertainment of the guests -- including her husband. Since the plot of the play deals with an unconsummated romantic rendezvous between a married woman and a rakish bachelor, it doesn't take long for Cody to figure out that Harris is merely re-enacting one of their cozy but innocent tete-a-tetes. Aware that he has been hoodwinked, Cody vows to change his hedonistic ways -- at least whenever Harris is around!