The American Venus
- For the 2007 Canadian film, see American Venus.
|The American Venus|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frank Tuttle|
|Written by||Frederick Stowers (scenario)|
Robert Benchley (titles)
|Story by||Townsend Martin|
Edna May Oliver
|Cinematography||J. Roy Hunt|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
The American Venus is a 1926 American silent comedy film directed by Frank Tuttle, and starring Esther Ralston, Ford Sterling, Lawrence Gray, Fay Lanphier, Louise Brooks, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The film was based on an original story by Townsend Martin. The scenario was written by Frederick Stowers with intertitles by Robert Benchley.
The film is believed to be lost, although pieces of the film's trailer survive and can be viewed on YouTube. In April 2018, three seconds of footage from the film was discovered by the British Film Institute.
- Esther Ralston as Mary Gray
- Lawrence Gray as Chip Armstrong
- Ford Sterling as Hugo Niles
- Fay Lanphier as Miss Alabama
- Louise Brooks as Miss Bayport
- Edna May Oliver as Mrs. Niles
- Kenneth MacKenna as Horace Niles
- William B. Mack as John Gray
- George De Carlton as Sam Lorber
- W. T. Benda as Artist
- Ernest Torrence as King Neptune
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as Triton
Before shooting began, the film became the subject of a minor controversy when the New York Graphic, a newspaper known for its use of yellow journalism, claimed that the film's distributor, Paramount Pictures, had "fixed" the Miss America pageant. In a series of articles, the paper claimed that the eventual winner, Fay Lanphier (Miss California), had been chosen before the pageant because she signed on to star in the film before the pageant was held. Paramount publicly admitted it had been involved with the pageant's promotions and had agreed to pay for pageant's reviewing stand. The studio also agreed to sponsor an "American Venus" contest to be held before the Miss America pageant to determine which of the contestants had the best "photographic possibilities". Lanphier won the American Venus title and was chosen by Famous Players-Lasky then production manager Walter Wanger a role in the film. The New York Graphic was later forced to retract their claim that the contest had been fixed.
Fay Lanphier was the first Miss America winner to star in a feature film. While the film was a popular draw upon its release and played in theatres for two years after its initial release (mainly due to the heavy publicity and the inclusion of two sequences that were shot in two-strip Technicolor), The American Venus received mixed reviews and Lanphier's contract was dropped. The American Venus proved to be more helpful to the careers of star Esther Ralston and Louise Brooks who was cast in a supporting role. Ralston had previously played supporting roles in the silent features Huckleberry Finn and Beggar on Horseback (1925). The success of The American Venus effectively established Ralston's career as a leading lady. The film also helped to boost Louise Brook's burgeoning career. It was her first significant role (her first role was small part in 1925's The Street of Forgotten Men) for which she received good reviews.
- "The American Venus". silentera.com.
- "BFI finds movie gold of silent era star Louise Brooks". BBC News. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
- (Paris 1989, p. 113)
- Roberts, Russell; Youmans, Richard (1993). Down the Jersey Shore. Rutgers University Press. p. 85. ISBN 0-813-51996-9.
- Warwick White, Wendy (2007). Ford Sterling: The Life and Films. McFarland. p. 104. ISBN 0-786-48220-6.
- Watson, Elwood; Martin, Darcy (2004). Watson, Elwood; Martin, Darcy, eds. "There She Is, Miss America": The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America's Most Famous Pageant. Macmillan. p. 42. ISBN 1-403-96301-0.
- Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929. McFarland. p. 534. ISBN 0-786-48790-9.
- (Paris 1989, pp. 111, 114)
- (Paris 1989, p. 111)
- Eames, John Douglas (1985). The Paramount Story. Crown. p. 38. ISBN 0-517-55348-1.
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