The Man from Blankley's
|The Man from Blankley's|
1930 theatrical poster
|Directed by||Alfred E. Green|
|Written by||Harvey F. Thew|
|Screenplay by||Joseph Jackson (and titles)|
|Based on||The Man from Blankley's
by F. Anstey
|Cinematography||James Van Trees|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||67 minutes|
The Man from Blankley's is a lost 1930 All-Talking comedy film, directed by Alfred E. Green. It starred John Barrymore and Loretta Young. The film was based upon the 1903 play by F. Anstey, and was considered to be a major comedy masterpiece in the early sound era. The film was Barrymore's second feature length all-talking film.
The trouble begins when a drunken Lord Strathpeffer (John Barrymore), who is on his way to visit an Egyptologist with a case of instruments used by entomologists, loses his way in the fog and wanders into the home (who lives next door to the Egyptologist) of a woman who is hosting a fancy dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Tidmarsh (Dick Henderson and Emily Fitzroy), a middle-class English couple, are giving a dinner party in honour of their wealthy uncle, Albert Gran (Gabriel Gilwattle), hoping to receive his financial aid in their struggle to keep up appearances. As a result of many of the invitees informing Emily Fitzroy (as Mrs. Tidmarsh) that they could not attend her party, she believes that only 13 guests will show up. Since Albert Gran is superstitious, Fitzroy sends to the Blankley Employment Agency to send them a distinguished looking man be one of their guests. He will take the curse off the party and at the same time help impress their uncle. In the meantime some other guests inform Fitzroy that they won't be able to come and the hired man is no longer needed. She informs the agency that the man is no longer needed. Nevertheless, when Barrymore arrives at the door, they automatically assume that he was sent by the agency and invite him in to dinner.
Mayhem ensues. Loretta Young (as Margery Seaton), one of the dinner guests, recognizes Barrymore as a former lover, and therefore assumes him to be an impostor. Sobering, Strathpeffer realizes he has come to the wrong party and asserts his right to his title; but Angella Mawby (as Gwennie) hides her father's watch in Strathpeffer's pocket as he is renewing his romance with Margery. A police inspector arrives hunting for the missing lord, establishing his authenticity and the fact that he is not, after all, the hired guest.
The film is considered to be a lost film. It was not available for television in the 1950s when Warners prepared many of their early talkies for 16mm tv release. Thus the negative and surviving print may have already decomposed. The soundtrack survives on Vitaphone discs, but all visual elements (print, negative, trailers and outtakes)are believed to be lost, with the exception of photographs (or stills) taken on the set during production. Contrarily IMDb has listed that some footage survives unsubstantiated at UCLA Film & Television.
Outlook and Independent praised the film, stating that Barrymore had "reverted to type" and contributed in making a film that was a "highly entertaining and fantastic farse" and "one of the strangest and most delightfully insane comedies to reach the screen in years". The Judge recommended the film as superb fun. In a telephone interview with Joseph W. Garton, author of The film acting of John Barrymore, actress Myrna Loy is quoted as stating that it was "one of the most brilliant movies he ever made".
The play premiered in London in 1903 at the Prince of Wales Theatre and was revived in 1906 at the Haymarket Theatre to much success. It also played on Broadway at the Criterion Theatre, from September 16 to November 1903, for 79 performances. It starred the British actors Sir Charles Hawtrey and Arthur Playfair. More than likely Barrymore, just starting his career in 1903, when the play opened, caught a performance at the Criterion.
- Garton, Joseph W. (1980). The film acting of John Barrymore. Dissertations on film 1980. Ayer Publishing. p. 122. ISBN 9780405129100.
- Kotsilibas-Davis, James (1981). The Barrymores: the royal family in Hollywood. Crown Publishers. p. 99. ISBN 9780517528969.
- Norden, Martin F. (1995). John Barrymore: a bio-bibliography. Volume 68 of Bio-bibliographies in the performing arts (illustrated, annotated ed.). Greenwood Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780313292682.
- "review: The Man from Blankley's". Outlook and Independent (The Outlook Co.). 1930. pp. Volume 154, 632. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "review: The Man from Blankley's". The Judge (Judge Publishing Company). 1930. pp. Volume 98, page 25. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "Arthur Playfair, Actor, Dead". The New York Times, 29 August 1918, accessed 6 February 2011
- The Man from Blankley's at the Internet Movie Database
- The Man from Blankley's at the Internet Broadway Database
- still of John Barrymore from the movie