11 September 2010 | wes-connors
Griffith Draws the Battle Lines at the Box Office
Although the vast majority of director D.W. Griffith's work has been preserved in one way or another, no print of this film has survived. Sadly, only a brief snippet and several photographs are presently available. Hoping to duplicate the quick box office success of the original, Mr. Griffith re-made "The Battle of the Sexes" in 1928, and the "lost" 1914 film is sometimes confused with its own re-make. To further mix up matters, it was originally titled "The Single Standard" (after Daniel Carson Goodman's popular novel), but is not the successful 1929 Greta Garbo film bearing that title.
This version's plot is virtually the same as its 1928 re-make, which is readily available for viewing. The characters' names are changed, though. Herein, the wealthy middle-aged father named "Frank Andrews" is played by Donald Crisp. Some years ago, Owen Moore was thought to have played the "father" role, but film stills show Mr. Moore is clearly the seductive gold-digger Fay Tincher (as Cleo)'s young lover. Moreover, Mr. Crisp is pictured with white temples. Notably, Lillian Gish (as Jane) plays the daughter who takes a gun to her father's lover, then becomes entranced with Moore.
The family is completed by son Robert Harron (as John) and mother Mary Alden. A contemporary "Variety" review noted Ms. Alden "is superb. Crisp gives a competent performance, Gish is girlish and nice, Harron does exceedingly well as the son," and Moore plays his "slim part" well, but called Ms Tincher "the blot on the acting." The "New York Dramatic Mirror" was kind to all, concluding the simply-arranged - and shot in five days, according to Ms. Gish's recollection - production was, "as fine, as delicate, as emotional, as finished a series of interpretations as will be the privilege to witness."
This may have also been Rudolph Valentino's first appearance. A dancer, he was briefly employed as a Griffith player. Acquainted with Harron and Dorothy Gish, Valentino isn't easily recognizable in a set photograph, but Dorothy looks present.
****** The Battle of the Sexes (4/12/14) D.W. Griffith ~ Donald Crisp, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mary Alden