12 November 2007 | wes-connors
One Good Turn Deserves Another
Mae Marsh works, happily, as an ordinary telephone operator; among the calls she places is one to the jewelry shop "Julius Jorgenson", as wealthy Claire McDowell calls to arrange a meeting about some jewels. Ms. Marsh uses her break time to see policeman suitor Alfred Paget. "The Telephone Girl and the Lady" cross paths as the former is on her way back to work, and the latter is returning home from the jewelry store. McDowell is impressed with Marsh's friendliness. They do not know Ms. McDowell is being followed by bicycle thief Harry Carey; he is planning to relieve McDowell of her jewels.
Later, "The Lady" McDowell sends "The Telephone Girl" Marsh a beautiful necklace, writing, in an accompanying note, "I am asking you to accept this token in appreciation of your promptness and painstaking efforts to please." From her telephone operator position, Marsh calls to thank McDowell for the gift. While the two women converse, burglar Carey sneaks enters McDowell's house, placing "The Lady" in great danger! Marsh hears McDowell being assaulted at the other end of her telephone line - will she be able to rescue McDowell from Carey's clutches?
D.W. Griffith, G.W. Bitzer and the good folks at Biograph deliver another winner. The location scenes are beautiful; generous amounts of early 1900s New York scenery are displayed on screen. The Biograph players perform an exciting story well. Carey is particularly menacing in his scene with McDowell; adding an amorous edge to his attack. Marsh is also notable; she is both expressive and natural, in a thoroughly charming performance. The story is a little confusing, however; it is adapted from a play, where some further explanation of story elements and character motivations may be clearer.
****** The Telephone Girl and the Lady (1/6/13) D.W. Griffith ~ Mae Marsh, Claire McDowell, Harry Carey