EXHIBITOR’S PRESS BOOK – PRESS STORIES
CHARLES KENMORE ULRICH, Editor
Pertinent Notes on David W. Griffith’s New
“A Romance of Happy Valley”
RANKING among the first of American producers of stupendous cinema spectacles, David Wark Griffith, creator of “The Birth of a Nation,” “Intolerance,” “Hearts of the World,” “The Great Love” and other gigantic motion picture productions, deservedly has won world wide fame. Mr. Griffith long ago demonstrated his artistry and mastery of cinema technique, but in none of his pictures are these qualifications so completely in evidence as in his latest Artcraft picture, “A Romance of Happy Valley.” This is a charming theme delightfully handled, and it doubtless will win its way into the hearts of an appreciative public. That it will be acclaimed a pastoral classic second to none produced in recent years, seems to be assured.
As is customary with Mr. Griffith, he has supplied the best procurable screen players to interpret the various roles of “A Romance of Happy Valley.” Chief among these is Lillian Gish, a charming Griffith player who scored so notable a triumph in “The Great Love Robert Harron, a prominent young leading man and George Fawcett, a veteran player of great popularity, who created a deep impression by his portrayal of the German- American in “The Hun Within,” have the leading male roles. Kate Bruce, a talented actress, also has a fine role. Others in the cast include George Nicholls, Bertram Grassby, Porter Strong, Adolphe Lestina, Lydia Yeamans Titus, Andrew Arbuckle and Frances Parks.
NESTLING in the hills along the Ohio, is Happy Valley where life is lived in calico gowns and denim breeches, John L. Logan, a prosperous farmer, runs a boarding house. His wife is a religious devotee, while his son, John Logan, Jr., is a growing lad who learns of the delights of city life from a chance boarder and who as a result, wants to go to New York. John is in love with Jennie Timberlake, who has metropolitan notions as regards dress and who seeks to monopolize John’s attentions. Mrs. Logan prays that her boy may be converted and his idea of going to the wicked city be banished forever from his mind. She is successful, for John accepts the faith and becomes engaged to Jennie. But while plowing one day, he backslides and defiantly announces that he is going to New York and after one year, when he hopes to have acquired his fortune, he will return to claim his bride. He goes to New York, and vainly devotes his inventive genius to the perfection of a jumping frog. He fails to return home at the end of the year, but nevertheless Jennie is primped up awaiting him. Eight years pass before John returns. Meanwhile affairs have gone badly at home, but mother and Jennie are there to give him a warm welcome Happy Valley becomes happy once more, but how, the picture itself reveals. The finish is a remarkable one in every respect and the story truly is filled with thrills, expectancy and irresistible heart appeal.
FOR the first time in five years Mr. Griffith has wrapped his film around homespun humanity; and he has found a classic in its folds, vivid in action, laughable in details and tense in effect. With his repeated triumphs in great productions, many persons have associated Mr. Griffith with tremendous spectacles, thunderous dramas and the sweep and rage of battle. But in “A Romance of Happy Valley” his genius is engaged in chronicling simple American life, and he has accomplished his task with superb accuracy and unrivaled charm.
EXHIBITORS are sure to find “A Romance of Happy Valley” one of the strongest box office attractions ever booked by them. The reputation of Mr. Griffith as a producer is in itself an asset that is bound to bring heavy returns to wide awake exhibitors. Mr. Griffith’s name is not associated with any failure and this is an additional assurance that “A Romance of Happy Valley” is likely to rival “Way Down East” in popularity. Liberal exploitation is urged, and the use of the original press matter and accessories supplied in this Press Book should not be overlooked.
“A ROMANCE OF HAPPY VALLEY”
An Appreciation of David Wark Griffith’s Superb Photoplay
By the Rev. Edward Hinson
I have seen an amazing thing. I have seen a church service that was not a church service, yet was greater than any I ever witnessed. I have seen art that almost surpasseth my understanding, it was so simple, so wonderful. Reluctantly I went to David W. Griffith’s studios in Hollywood, near Los Angeles. I had heard a church service was to be a part of the action in a film drama Mr. Griffith was making. The play was called “A Romance of Happy Valley.” I wished to see these church scenes in a studio, for I had my doubts about their propriety. The interior of the church had been constructed in the studio. Stained windows glowed under a gentle light. The pews looked old, with an air of having served sinner and saved one many times. In front was a pulpit, simply and strongly built. It was such a one as I had steadied my hand upon that day I delivered my first sermon in a little church in the South. And to one side was a plucky little organ that had suffered much in the past, a brave, sturdy little instrument. The choir, two men and two women, were seated nearby. I had seen the players outside before Mr. Griffith came. They were laughing and talking gayly. Then I met Mr. Griffith, a slender active man with a marvellously expressive face. He explained to me that the story he was producing dealt in part with a young man suddenly finding sanctuary in the House he had often visited. The organ was playing “Rock of Ages.” The tune drifted over to us as we stood in a distant part of the studio. Then we went over to the “set” as they called it. Over the players a change had come. Gone was the give-and-take of their talk.
They entered the portal quietly, I believe, humbly. The choir stood and sang the words of the hymn, with the congregation joining. At that time, I had a feeling that perhaps this shouldn’t be, that it was wrong to hold so realistic a service ; yet it did not offend—more, it appealed. They sang the hymn over and over. The day was warm. A spirit of peace, and good-will and earnestness seemed to enter that strange room. Then the man who played the part of the minister, addressed those who seemed so certainly his flock. Mr. Griffith stood near him speaking the words he was to repeat. I understand Mr. Griffith had a very thorough religious training in his youth. I am sure of it. Not a note of irreverence was sounded, not a breath of mockery prevailed. I stayed there for hours, while the scene was rehearsed again and again. They continued to sing “Rock of Ages.” Memories had come to those players. They were living scenes they knew of old and loved. It was late when the climax came. I can only describe what happened. I did not think to argue why or how. For certainly the spell was on me. Mr. Griffith was talking. His deep vibrant voice transported a message of goodness, of kindness, of doing what one thinks is right. He talked to Robert Harron, for Mr. Harron was playing the part of the boy. It was beautiful, it was simple, it was superb. I think Mr. Griffith would have been one of the greatest of our ministers and evangelists had he felt the call. There were tears in the eyes of the players when he ended. There were tears in mine. One woman, yielding completely to her emotions responded with an “Amen” to one of his remarks. And gone from that body was all pretense, gone was all mimicry. Surely we were all children at our devotions. Indeed, tears were in our eyes, and our throats were full. When the choir sang “Rock of Ages” then we caught up the tune with triumphant eagerness. We sang those noble words and we meant every, word of what we sang. When I looked up, I saw tears in Mr. Griffith’s eyes, wonderful grey eyes that belong to the crusader. That was all. But I shall never forget that day. I had a new vision of what art may be ; of what Mr. Griffith’s art is.
“A ROMANCE OF HAPPY VALLEY”
- Jennie Timberlake Lillian Gish
- John L. Logan, Jr. Robert Harron
- John L, Logan George Fawcett
- Mrs. Logan Kate Bruce
- William Timberlake (the father) George Nicholls
- The City Man Bertram Grassby
- The Funny Waiter Porter Strong
- Jim Darkly Adolphe Lestina
- Auntie Smiles Lydia Yeamans Titus
- The Minister Andrew Arbuckle
- Topsy Frances Sparks
A Delightful Artistic Success
You Ever Hear of Happy Valley, Cradled in the Hills Along the Ohio? You Should See This Charming Photoplay in Which Sweet Lillian Gish Plays the Chief Role EVER hear of Happy Valley? A quiet place, just a cradle in the hills down along the Ohio River, where the Logans ran the boarding house, and the Timberlakes lived down the road a bit Quite a romance happened there, and it was dramatic too. Nothing much was said about it in the papers, and the whole story never was told until now. It’s about the Logans and the Timberlakes and old Auntie Smiles and some others. D. W. Griffith found out all about it, and he called it “A Romance of Happy Valley.”