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MGM Silent. 67 minutes
US release: 5/24/26.
Cast: Charles Ray, Joan Crawford (as "The Girl"), Douglas Gilmore, Michael Visaroff, Rose Dione, Jean Galeron.
Credits: Story: Edmund Goulding. Titles: Joseph Farnham. Director: Edmund Goulding. Camera: John Arnold. Editor: Arthur Johns. Art Direction: Romaine de Tirtoff Erte. Sets: Cedric Gibbons, Merrill Pye.
Plot Summary: Jerry, a wealthy and carefree American youth, encounters a beautiful girl in the notorious Birdcage Cafe in Paris and incurs the jealousy of her sweetheart, a ferocious apache. The apache knifes Jerry, and The Girl [Joan Crawford] accompanies Jerry to his palatial villa, then nurses him back to health; Jerry tactfully pays her to dance with the apache when again threatened, but The Girl is brutally hurt by her lover and imprisoned as a consequence--yet she loves him. Jerry, in gratitude, showers her with money and jewels, and her sweetheart abuses and threatens her on a visit to the prison. While at the races with Jerry, The Girl receives word that the apache is free and swears to kill her; she confesses her love for him, and Jerry leaves her. She returns to the cafe and dances with her lover, who tries to strangle her in a moment of fury, but Jerry intervenes; The Girl begs him to desist, and understanding that she truly loves the apache, Jerry does so. ~ American Film Institute
In June 1925, Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Pauline Starke and Lew Cody would star in the film, based on a story by Carey Wilson.
In August 1925, Motion Picture News announced that Robert Z. Leonard would direct the film (with Starke and Cody still starring). The film was billed as the "first Ertι-gowned Fashion Special."
In March 1926, Moving Picture World announced that Goulding would direct, with a new original story and new cast (and no Erte).
If you leave before the final reel, you will find this an absorbing tale of love. Edmund Goulding, who wrote and directed it, slipped badly when he refused the happy ending. The girl, exquisitely played by Joan Crawford, should have married the young man about Paris night life, whom Charles Ray makes amusing and believable. Instead, she remains faithful to her sadistic apache, Douglas Gilmore. Good, but not to the last shot.
"Skig" in Variety (1926):
Strictly a "movie" idea of Paris, its apaches, and what can happen to a wealthy American youth in that environment. The objective is light comedy, occasionally reached, but it's all a bit silly. Advance information on Miss Crawford among the "picture mob" had her strongly heralded as a "comer." Undoubtedly a "looker" (when profiled she can double for Norma Shearer in a closeup), Miss Crawford will nevertheless have to show more talent than in this instance to make that billing entirely unanimous. Good, yes, but perhaps suffering from the pre-billing that always handicaps.
Alexander Walker (in The Ultimate Star, 1983):
...[Joan was] passed back to Edmund Goulding again to play an apache dancer in Paris torn between her brutal partner and the kind of silly-ass American millionaire who makes no distinction between night and day, but wears his dinner jacket continuously. The picture was built around Charles Ray, whose heavy clowning knocked it down again in every scene. A pity, for Goulding's unconventional taste in eroticism scarcely gets the chance it hankers after to develop Crawford's perverseness as the girl who prefers pain and low life with her raffish dance partner to conventional happiness with the jejeune playboy.
If you've seen Paris and would like to share your review here, please e-mail me. Feel free to include a photo of yourself to accompany your review, as well as a star-rating (with 5 stars the best) and/or your favorite titles from the film.
Above: New York program cover and centerfold. Below: U.S. newspaper ads.
Above: A U.S. trade ad.
The Best of Everything