An Adventuress [1920]

An Adventuress ("Zana")

aka The Isle of Love (1922) (USA: reissue title) - Fred J. Balshofer

aka Over the Rhine (1918) (USA: working title)

Most comedians of the silent era impersonated women at one point or another (it was a popular theme in vaudeville, where most of them got their start). But one man, Julian Eltinge, made a whole career out of his female impersonations. Here he has company — Fred Covert joins him in dressing like a lady. Some of the advertising catch lines for this slight mythical kingdom comedy are pretty silly themselves, for example, "They took him for a gay adventuress — until they felt his fist!" Three Americans, Jack Perry (Eltinge), Lyn Brook (Covert), and Dick Sayre (William Clifford), find out about the unrest going on in the kingdom of Alpania and decide to get involved. The royalists capture Perry and order him to be shot at sunrise. With the help of an aeroplane and a bomb, Brook rescues him and they resolve to get the royalists secret plans and pass them along to the revolutionaries. In order to do this, both of them dress up as ladies, and quite successfully, too. When Perry has flirted the information out of the princes and potentates, he heads out with the plans. He is captured, but manages to commander an enemy plane to make a daring escape. Eventually he gets back to America and his girl (thus proving that in spite of his antics he is firmly heterosexual). One of the supporting players is the ill-fated Virginia Rappe, who died in 1921 after a party thrown by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (no mean female impersonator himself). [Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide].

This early Valentino film made in 1920, his fourth year in Hollywood, is one of six completed and released that year. Three of the six are among the lost. This film does exist in the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY as a 16 mm print. Valentino's filmography for the years 1919/1920 is sketchy - out of 13 films, 7 are lost.


The Isle of Love

A drag artist, Valentino in his days before stardom, and the actress who was to die in the Arbuckle scandal: a list perhaps dreamed up in desperation for a story about the wilder shores of early Hollywood? In fact, these three came together for a 1920 film, An Adventuress (written by Charles Taylor, Tom J Geraghty). In 1922, after Virginia Rappe had died and Valentino had become a star, director Fred Balshofer recut his footage and boosted Valentino's part with outtakes. The outcome is pretty loopy: Eltinge in drag, a palace revolution, saucy bathing belles, and huge plugs for US intervention in foreign affairs. Most of the film's interest comes from its blatant efforts to cash in: a silent conversation between Rappe and Valentino takes on dimensions that Balshofer could never have dreamed of in 1920. Cpe


An Adventuress

AKA The Isle of Love in the USA: {The Adventuress}

(1920) American B&W : Five reels Directed by Fred J. Balshofer Cast: Julian Eltinge, Fred Covert, William Clifford, Leo White, Virginia Rappé, R. De Valentina (Rudolph Valentino), Stanton Beck, Charles Millsfield, Fred Heck [?] Yorke Film Corporation? production; distributed by Republic Distributing Corporation. / Produced by Fred J. Balshofer. Scenario by [?] Charles Taylor and/or Tom J. Geraghty (Thomas J. Geraghty)? Cinematography by Tony Gaudio. / © 10 April 1920 by Republic Distributing Corporation [LU15025]. © 12 June 1922 as The Isle of Love by Fred J. Balshofer [LP18202]. Released 10 April 1920. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. / The production was completed in November 1918 (with the working title Over the Rhine) as an anti-German World War I drama. The film was not released until 1920, and then only after the film was rewritten as a comedy-drama and partially reshot. The film was rereleased in 1922 on a State Rights basis as The Isle of Love to capitalize on Valentino’s popularity. Rappé was the actress supposedly murdered by Roscoe Arbuckle in 1921. Comedy-Drama: Adventure. Synopsis: Synopsis available in AFI-F1 n. F1.0029. Survival Status: (unknown) Listing updated: 14 March 2004. References: AFI-F1 n. F1.0029; AFI-F2 n. F2.2759.


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