Review from Moving Picture World -
IT is because photodramas are presented before millions of people that I think the producer should defer to this vast audience by using infinite pains in the details of a composition; in other words, possess and exhibit a sense of responsibility to the whole people. His medium has become a great expression of life as it was, or as it is, or as it should be according to the ideals of earnest and serious contemporaneous thought. Any man who is so little afraid of criticism that he courts it, who tests and retests his work until it rings true to himself, will have the secret happiness of one who has created well and the satisfaction of intelligent recognition among those who know a good thing when they see it. Thus far can he go-the opinion of the vast audience is more of less a mystery to all of us-but that is better far than writing down to a supposed ignorance among the masses. In this country, you who are reading and I who am writing belong to the masses, are glad of it and resent the idea that any old thing is the line of photospasm will do for us.
The audience is little concerned with what might be called the "mechanics," the wires and wheels and cogs and springs of a photoplay, but as these make up the coherent whole it is in the critic's province to give them especial attention, so I watched "Beau Brummel" for the use of broken-down devices to put a play over because I am long accustomed to see them, but I was agreeably surprised. The director who kept its scene plot clearly before him, who utilized exquisite taste in such effects of environment as furniture properties and costumes, who never slacked in his efforts to make the member of his company express the characters through themselves, has given us something to enjoy and think about in the entertainment he has furnished, and has done this by a high quality of production rarely presented on the screen.
"Beau Brummel" as a drama whose interest centers entirely upon the leading role, would fall into commonplace if not entirely fail without intelligent comprehension and interpretation of the principal character. This was assigned to James Young, a talented actor of interesting personality, who has been associated in his varied experience with Sir Henry Irving, Mrs. Fisk, and Viola Allen, but whose marvelous knowledge of make-up seems even a greater asset, so completely does it submerge his own identity in that of the impersonation.
Mr. Young has done more than correctly portray the character in lead, he has made one which reaches out and enlists our sympathies, although it is that of an effeminate fop, an idler who lived exclusively on what he could win without effort and who did not disdain to let friends show devotion in vain. Ridiculous as his pretentions are, they are so contrasted with those of eminent gentlemen of his times, even those of royal birth and privilege, that we like his nerve and feel sorry for him when he breaks down in adversity. The others' parts are admirably assumed, especially those of Helen Balleret and Isadore.
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