THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD – July, 1914
“The Rebellion of Kitty Belle.”
A Two-Reel Majestic Comedy, Written by George Pattulo and Directed by Mr. Cabanne.
Reviewed by- Louis Reeves Harrison.
- Kitty Belle ……… Lillian Gish
- Bud Parker ……. R. A. Walsh
- Joe ……………. Robert Harron
A TWO-REEL domestic comedy with a punch, “The Rebellion of Kitty Belle” has a wide human appeal. It is a light and dainty social picture on the surface with a strong undercurrent of meaning that should have been left as an undercurrent, not indicated in sub-titles, to be felt the more deeply that it is not made obvious. However, to its credit, the drama’s full significance is not thrust down our throats as in many sociological plays whose producers are in a state of mental distress lest their point should escape attention.
“The Rebellion of Kitty Belle,” with this one exception, comes close to being an ideal screen story of its kind. “Kitty Belle” is a young wife of no evil tendencies. To the contrary, she is a loyal little thing, with much of that childishness in her nature which brings mothers very close to the hearts of their young children. She is not a mother—she is only a sweet little bride, trying to keep house for a manly young husband, longing for his love, appreciation, tenderness and sympathy. All the wholesome instincts in her nature crave those tiny attentions which manly men especially when fighting their battle for existence, often regard as superfluous after marriage. The young husband is giving most of his energies to the work of building a future for himself and family. His thoughts are concentrated on the natural purposes outlined in his hopes. He only turns occasionally from those purposes to his dainty little helpmate in a mannish way, when he is hungry for what she provides, forgetting the unsatisfied hunger for “sweets” of conduct that torments her.
In vain her pretty flowers, in vain the new ribbon in her hair, in vain her timid appeals for attention ; he has serious work to do and is too much pre-occupied with what he is doing very largely for her sake. She has no child, no natural outlet for her wells of affection, and she is ripe for the revolt that comes. There is always a man ready, an easy-going saunterer of little manliness and still less sense of responsibility. The flowers in other men’s gardens are for him to pick as he passes by, wear while their beauty lasts and discard when drooping, but the saunterer does not have quite time enough to accomplish his purposes. The husband stumbles upon a book, “How – to Make Love to Your Wife” (publisher not given), and makes a few awkward attempts to redeem himself, but he is too much of a man to be insincere.
The real stuff in him begins to take shape when he captures the saunterer and exposes the latter’s true character. The story is admirably told and the roles interpreted with great delicacy and charm. We are given an insight into the heart-longing and childish mentality of the wife by Lillian Gish that will remain in the memory of many who see her as “Kitty Belle.” The best of it all is that she and the two men are telling intelligently a truth of human life which is well worth the telling. Nearly all the plays that make a claim of this have one or another iiifinnitv of purpose, some jarring note of artificiality, if only false whiskers, which mars the natural harmony. “The Rebellion of Kitty Belle,” though flowering into high sentiment for a comedy, does so without sacrificing the autonomy of its characters and without detriment to the artistic fabric. It rings true.