DELICIOUS LITTLE DEVIL(director: Robert Z. Leonard; screenwriters: John B. Clymer/Harvey F. Thew/Clmer & Thew also wrote the novel Kitty, Mind Your Feet; cinematographer: Allan Zeigler; music: The Mont Alto Movie Orchesra, restored version; cast: Mae Murray (Mary McGuire), Harry Rattenbury (Patrick McGuire), Richard Cummings (Uncle Barnley), Rudolph Valentino (Jimmy Calhoun), Ivor McFadden (Percy), Bertram Grassby (Duke de Sauterne), William Mong (Larry McKean), Edward Jobson (Michael Calhoun), Alice Knowland (Mother); Runtime: 54; MPAA Rating: NR; Milestone/Universal; 1919-silent)
“This rare Rudolph Valentino silent melodrama was thought to be lost but in 1991 it was discovered by the Nederlands Filmmuseum.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This rare Rudolph Valentino silent melodrama was thought to be lost but in 1991 it was discovered by the Nederlands Filmmuseum. It was filmed two years before Valentino rocketed to stardom in such films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Conquering Power and The Sheik. In 1919 he made seven films but four are still lost. In this lively little gem Valentino was billed fourth as Rudolpho De Valentina, in a supporting role, with Mae Murray (the director’s wife, in a marriage that ended in divorce in 1925 after seven years) as the star. It’s directed by Robert Z. Leonard (“Pride and Prejudice”/”Ziegfeld Girl”) from a book called Kitty, Mind Your Feet by John B. Clymer and Harvey F. Thew.
Manhattan hat check gal Mary McGuire (Mae Murray) gets fired for an impromptu dance the boss catches her in instead of working. She supports her freeloading Uncle Barnley (Richard Cummings) and her abandoned weakling mother, and then her estranged father when he suddenly shows up when he receives a letter from Barnley. The men are good-for-nothing lushes, who remain unemployed. Mary answers an add in the paper for a dancer at a new roadside inn, The Peach Tree Inn, just outside the city. The business manager Larry McKean (William Mong) hires her when she poses as Gloria De Moin, the notorious Spanish dancer and mistress of the Duke de Sauterne (Bertram Grassby), who after a scandalous affir with the duke goes into hiding. The publicity draws a packed opening day crowd that includes Jimmy Calhoun (Rudolph Valentino), the son of millionaire contractor Michael Calhoun (Edward Jobson), who falls in love with her. When Jimmy contemplates asking the cabaret dancer to marry him, dad arranges a dinner party at the Peach Tree Inn where he plans to get Gloria drunk and thereby get her to make a fool of herself to ruin the wedding plans. Also showing up are her father and uncle, as the butcher’s son Percy (Ivor McFadden), Mary’s ex-boyfriend whom she got a high paying job as a bouncer, invites them over for the free booze and food. Also arriving is the duke, a swindler who had to flee Europe. The duke instead of exposing Mary as a fraud, aggressively pursues her to satisfy his lust. Jimmy rescues her as the chase ends up in her family’s Upper West Side apartment. When all the dust clears the duke is arrested as a wanted man and it turns out that Mary’s father and uncle were bricklayers in the old days when Michael first started out and he has found memories of them. He thereby gives his son his blessing to marry such a swell gal of virtue when he learns her true identity.
REVIEWED ON 5/23/2006 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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