"The Dancers" (1925)

Produced by Fox Film Corporation
Directed by Emmett J. Flynn
Released on January 4, 1925

Cast: George O'Brien, Alma Rubens, Madge Bellamy, Templar Saxe, Joan Standing, Noble Johnson, and Tippy Grey.

Unable to make a living in crowded London, Tony (George O'Brien) leaves his girl, Una (Madge Bellamy), and goes to South America to seek his fortune. He is very successful and becomes the owner of a saloon and a dance hall. Although one of the dancers, Maxine (Alma Rubens), is in love with him, he remains true to the girl he left behind in London.

Una has forgotten Tony and lives a life of mad parties and champagne in London. She succumbs to the charms of a scoundrel. Forgetting Tony, she gives in to the embraces of the scoundrel. Tony becomes heir to a title and fortune, and returning to London, he immediately proposes marriage to Una. On the evening before their marriage Una tells Tony of her indiscretion.

"The Dancers" received very favorable reviews.
Photoplay, March, 1925: "Nothing out of the ordinary. An Englishman returns to his childhood sweetheart only to find her a victim of the jazz craze."

Variety, January 7, 1925: "Here is a picture pretty certain to be sure fire at the box office."

Harrison's Reports, January 17,1923: "It is evident that the censor's scissors kept pretty busy after he had seen 'The Dancers' for in places there is so much missing that it will be hard for the average patron to make connections until the story advances well."

The heroine of this film, the beautiful Alma Rubens (1987-1931), has a happy ending in the film which was quite different than her real-life story. Born Alma Smith in San Francisco, she began her career on the musical stage and entered films at the suggestion of Rolin Sturgeon of the Vitagraph Company. She appeared in numerous films at Vitagraph and then joined Fine Arts as Douglas Fairbanks' leading lady in "The Half Breed" (1916). She also appeared in another Fairbank's production, "The Americano" (1916).

It appears that she was also featured in the 1915 production of "Peer Gynt" under the name of Mary Rubens. She became a star soon after playing one of the girls of the marriage market in the Babylonian sequence of "Intolerance" (1916).

She appeared in approximately fifty silent feature films although only a few of her films survive including "Intolerance" (1916), "Reggie Mixes In" (1916) "The Americano" (1916) "The Fall Of Babylon" (1919) and "She Goes To War" (1929), in which she is heard singing while playing a ukelele in the sound sequence. She appeared with many of the leading men and women of the period including Lilian Gish, Lon Chaney, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, W.S. Hart, Edmund Lowe, and Lewis Stone. Her promising career came to an end in 1929 after completing "She Goes To War." She had become addicted to heroin.

Many studios and producers dealt with the drug problem that swept through the Hollywood community, and Fine Arts produced a comedy film dealing with cocaine called "The Mystery Of The Leaping Fish" in 1916. Douglas Fairbanks had the lead role, and one supporting role was played by none other than Alma Rubens.

George O'Brien (1900-1958), the son of San Francisco's police chief, was an all-around athlete in Santa Clara College and the heavyweight boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet during World War I. He entered films in 1922 as an assistant cameraman and rapidly became a stuntman and bit player. He made his screen debut in 1922, and, after a few lack-luster films, he was elevated to stardom when he was given the leading role in "The Iron Horse" (1924 ). He was a popular leading man when he was selected to co-star in Murnau's "Sunrise" (1927). With the coming of sound, he became a western star, one of the leading cowboys on the Fox and RKO lots.

copyright 2003 by John DeBartolo. All rights reserved.

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