The Photoplayers Weekly – April 1915
Director Jack O’Brien
Filming a Richard Harding Davis Story
By Bennie Lubinville Zeidman
Little does or can the average layman realize the time, care and patience a motion picture director is compelled to endure when attempting the staging of vast battle scenes in which hundreds of supernumeraries are participants.
Director Jack O’Brien, whom D.W. Griffith (genius), said to be one of his best producers, was detailed to the filming of the Russell E. Smith picture version of “Captain Macklin,” taken from the famous novel of the same name by Richard Harding Davis, to serve as a four reel Majestic – Mutual release.
As most every fiction lovers knows, “Captain Macklin” is the son of the fighting Macklin family, and upon his grandfather death dawning he said to his boy when he handed him his sword: “It’s yours! Remember you’re a Macklin, and never fear to fight for the honor of that name!”
Therefore, Captain Macklin, when expelled from the Military Academy, seeks war atmosphere. He hears of the revolutions in Honduras, Central America, and sets sail for the fighting country. As a wandering soldier of fortune in Central America, he seeks General Laguerre, in charge of the Foreign Legion, and enlists.
Director O’Brien, for the Honduran local color, supervised the erection of a number of Central American streets which were exact reproductions of photographs taken a few years ago in that Pacific country. For the terrific battle scenes, O’Brien had the revolutionists scattered over mountain tops and valleys, cannon bombs bursting in midair, soldiers falling from housetops, etc. Several times were the pictures retaken because the visualized realism didn’t seem to ring true to him, and when he finally placed his stamp of approval on them you can rest assured that SOME battle scenes were rushed back to the developing factory to confirm the photographic exposures.
A great deal of ammunition was utilized in these battle scenes – in fact 137.000 rounds were fired during that time. Ten thousand feet of battle scenes were photographed, and the choice, thrilling true-to-life scenes will be inserted in the picture.
Speaking of the photographic effects, much credit is due to O’Brien’s cinematographer, H.B. Harris, for the photographed scenes are as clear as a crystal. Special praise for the picturization should be bestowed upon Russell E. Smith – his scenario conceivement is capital.
The girl, Captain Macklin’s sweetheart, who follows him to Central America, is no other than the talented Griffith star, Lillian Gish, whose recent portrayal as “Elsie Stoneman” in D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” is one that will forever, and with the same spirit and enthusiasm that she applied to “The Birth of a Nation” Miss Gish enacted the part of “Beatrice.”
In the title role, which is that of “Captain Macklin,” appeared Jack Conway, who, in addition to being the desired type for the part, is a splendid actor and a daring horseman, and his fearless riding is an asset to this Majestic – Mutual feature.
Jack Dillon in the part of “Graham” renders a very pleasing performance.