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The Great Day (1920)

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After plans to film The Sorrows of Satan were dropped, The Call of Youth became the first Famous Players-Lasky British production.

The film was directed by Hugh Ford and based on a play by Louis Napoleon Parker and George Robert Sims.[1] The scenario was by Eve Unsell and Alfred Hitchcock designed the intertitle cards.

The film starred Arthur Bourchier, Mary Palfrey, Marjorie Hume, Bertram Burleigh, Adeline Hayden Coffin and Percy Standing.

Principal Photography

The Call of Youth was began filming in June 1920 and was completed before November.

An agreement with Arthur Collins, who staged the play, allowed the film production to make use of stage costumes and scenery.[2]

One of the earliest scenes to be filmed was shot on location in the grounds of a private school in Bushey, Hertfordshire.[2]

Release & Reception

Along with company's second film, The Call of Youth, The Great Day was given a trade screening in November 1920.[2]

Following the trade screening, The Times complained that when compared to the stage play, the film was "full of missed opportunities" and lamented the loss of several crucial scene, for example:[3]

[...] the great spectacular effect of the play was the scene in an underground cafe in Paris, which is suddenly submerged when the Seine bursts its banks. Here, at any rate, one thought, there would be an opportunity for the film studio, which is equipped with a wonderful tank, to show how dangerous a rival it could be to Mr. [Arthur] Collins. But in the film the whole idea is changed. The Seine never overflows, and all one sees, after a rough and tumble fight, is two of the characters falling into it sewer from which they are rescued without any great difficulty.

A review followed a few weeks later in Variety:[4]

[...] the scenario is lacking in the dramatic power that characterized the play, and the producer has certainly not made the best of his opportunities, although the stagecraft is admirable.

In April 1921, The Film Daily review reached a similar conclusion:[5]

"The Great Day" falls way short of being a great picture, and the adaptation of the Drury Lane melodrama is just barely fair entertainment. The story development is logical and well enough done, but there is no dramatic force. The various situations are introduced and concluded in the same tone. There is no variation and even the climax is reached without any tensity of action.

[...] The director has given good attention to technical matters, but the picture lacks "punch," or the sort of thing that puts a picture over — makes an impression. The players, too, are at fault for not making the bigger scenes stand out. They don't vary their emotions or actions in accord with the moment.

A short review in the June issue of Photoplay was also critical:[6]

This is the first product of the Famous Players British studios, and a distinct disappointment. Except for some charming country scenes, and several shots of the impressive Alps — the real Alps — there is nothing in it to hold the interest.

According to theatre listings in the Daily Mail, the film began screening to the public in London during January 1922.


See Also...

Notes & References

  1. According to London's Hollywood: The Gainsborough Studio in the Silent Years (2014) by Gary Chapman, the film rights were secured for £4,000.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 London's Hollywood: The Gainsborough Studio in the Silent Years (2014) by Gary Chapman
  3. The Times (29/Nov/1920) - The Film World
  4. Variety (17/Dec/1920) - The Great Day
  5. The Film Daily (03/Apr/1921) - The Great Day
  6. Photoplay (Jun/1921) - The Great Day