Motion Picture News – Vol.15 No.1, January 6, 1917
” A House Built Upon Sand “
(Fine Arts-Triangle—Five Reels)
Reviewed By Peter Milne
HERE is a conventional sort of comedy-drama in which the man in the case practises the cave-man stunt and bears his flippant wife off to a factory town, where she learns there is something else in life besides the dansants and debutante receptions. She suffers terribly when her latest Fifth avenue creations are stolen from her over night and a coarse gingham gown, or one of equally despicable weave, is placed by her bedside. But it dosen’t last long of course.
Her husband is interested in factory workers and she becomes interested also. She starts to love her husband after a while and first gives evidence of it by giving his pipes a thorough cleansing with soap and water. They had such an offensive odor. Poor hubby! And then just to bring on something of a climax she believes him faithless and runs away, but hubby runs after her and explanations make everything all well.
The element of humor is the saving grace in this picture. Without it there would be little to interest. With it a perfectly obvious story containing no suspense at all is made entertaining. Whatever demands were brought to bear on the director were met with ease. A fire scene in the last reel, though dragged in by the heels, as the saying goes, is executed with realism, considering the fact that the whole of the framework house is destroyed.
Lillian Gish is at first the shallow wife. She plays well. Her forte is comedy and in it a certain theatrical tone in her work, which is apt to be taken for insincerity, is more appropriate. Hers is in general a fetching performance. When she smells the pipes she is great.
Roy Stuart is fully capable of carrying the husband’s role. Others are William H. Brown, excellent as a fatherly old attorney; Bessie Buskirk, Jack Brammall, Josephine Crowell and Kate Bruce. Mary H. O’Connor wrote the scenario and Edward Morrisey directed.