For the Wearing of the Green and Rob Roy from Albion Exclusives
One of the many great advantages of the cinematograph drama over the drama of the ordinary stage is the fact that national plays, which depend for their effect largely upon picturesque settings and fidelity of atmosphere, may be presented with the maximum amount of scenic realism. The two excellent films shown by Messrs. Albion Exclusives at a Trade performance last week, are both of the essentially national dramas, founded upon actual events in the respective histories of Ireland and Scotland. Each is notable for the vividness of its local colour, and in spite of the fact that the Scotch picture was made in America, the accuracy with which the national characteristics are reproduced.
For the Wearing of the Green, the Irish film, is the work of the Domino Company, who have gained a high and well-spirited masterly treatment of Hibernian subjects, upon which they have specialised for some time. This, their latest work, is quite one of the best things they have done. It is a magnificent Irish drama, full of fiery excitement and typically Celtic romanticism, as regards its story, and exquisitely lovely as regards its setting. Even the well-known Irish players of Dublin, who are just at present delighting London theatre-goers with their delicate art, have never produced a drama more thoroughly impregnated with the true inner spirit of Ireland than in this admirable film production. It is a picture which will enchant every Englishman, and turn every Irishman who sees it positively dizzy with enthusiasm.
Rob Roy, which is a careful adaptation by the American Eclair Company of Sir Walter Scott's famous novel, represents Scotland quite as successfully as the above-mentioned film represents Ireland. It must have been a particularly difficult task to carry out such a production in America, and it says a great deal for the Eclair Company's scholarly, painstaking methods that they have caught the spirit both of the country and of the period quite perfectly, in points of detail as well as in general effect. Indeed, did one not know the contrary to be the case, one would have said that the picture could only have been made in Scotland by Scottish artistes.
The story of Rob Roy is a lengthy and somewhat discursive one, like most of Scott's novels, and it cannot have been an easy matter to compress it within three reels of film. Although the picture demands one's whole attention if one is to follow it intelligently, it makes a clear and most effective romantic drama which might have been written especially for the cinematograph, so well does it suit the conditions of the latter. It is full of incident - almost too full at times - and its varied scenes give opportunities for the introduction of almost every kind of background and studio setting, all of which are excellently well chosen or built, as the case may be.
There are few more versatile and capable companies than the American Eclair players, and the present picture affords them plenty of scope. Mr. J.W. Johnston is a dignified and impressive Rob Roy; Mr Fred Truesdell makes a subtle and snake-like villain; Mr Robert Frazer gives a very fine and sympathetic performance as the hero; while others who do equally well are Miss Milly Bright as the pretty heroine, Mr Hal Wilson as an effective character part as Jarvie and Mr Will Sheerer as Sir Frederick Vernon.
Altogether, we consider that Messrs. Albion Exclusives have secured two very excellent and attractive entertainments in these pictures. They are just the sort of thing that is wanted in the theatres, and there can be no doubt that they will prove immensely successful.