First National Pictures
Constance Talmadge (Marian Duncan), Tullio Carminati (Lieutenant Vladimir Orloff), Edward Martindel (Grand Duke Gregory Alexandrovich), Rose Dione (Grand Duchess Olga Petrovna), Chester Conklin (Hotel Manager), Lawrence Grant (Commandant), Martha Franklin (Maid), Jean de Briac (Adjutant)
Marian Duncan is an American dancer who has made her fame in Russia doing a somewhat risqué dance in which several veils are removed from her body to tease the male audience members. She and Lieutenant Vladmir Orloff, a Russian dragoon, are in love. However, in order to marry, a Russian soldier must have the permission of the Grand Duke. When Orloff asks the Duke's permission, it is granted at least initially. When the Grand Duke learns who the bride-to-be is, he withdraws his permission on the pretense that a Russian soldier cannot marry a dancer. When Orloff says he will give up him commission in the military in order to marry Marian, the Duke orders him detained in his quarters for three days to think over his rash decision. However, what Orloff doesn't know is that the Duke really wants Marian for himself. He saw her perform and has already bought her a diamond pendant as a part of his plan to seduce her. Of course, the Duke is married to the Grand Duchess, and keeping her ignorant of his plans is essential.
The Duke has the pendant delivered to Marian and visits her apartment. He tries to convince her that she should give Orloff his freedom in order to save his military career. Marian asks the Duke to leave and gives the pendant back to him.
Marian leaves the next day for an engagement in Orel. Orloff learns of this and leaves for Orel knowing that he could be put to death for breaking his arrest. When the Duke learns where Marian has gone, he goes to tell the Grand Duchess that he must go to Orel on business. What he doesn't know is that the Duchess has just read in the newspaper about Marian's trip to Orel, and she realizes the real reason the Duke is going there. So, she decides to go to Orel to catch him. She sends a telegram to the hotel where she will be staying asking that her rooms be made ready and her trip remain a secret.
The hotel manager reads the telegram and becomes uncontrollably excited about the Grand Duchess staying in his hotel. He not only doe not keep the visit a secret, he scurries around telling his hotel staff to make things ready for the Duchess' visit.
Orloff meets Marian at the Orel train station. Although she is concerned for his safety, he says she should not worry since no one I Orel knows him. However, when he and Marian pull up to the hotel, they are greeted royally by the hotel manager and staff. They are puzzled and afraid at all the attention. When Marian, her maid and Orloff get to her rooms, they look out the window to see crowds in the street welcoming their arrival. While still trying to figure out why they have been greeted so, Marian looks at a card on some one of the flower arrangements in the room and realizes these people have mistaken her for the Grand Duchess.
The dragoons in Orel give a reception for the Grand Duchess/Marian. She reluctantly plays along to protect Orloff who acts as her adjutant. However, while they are in the reception, the Grand Duke arrives at the hotel. When he learns the Grand Duchess is there and is being honored with a reception, he reluctantly goes to greet her. To his delight, he finds Marian acting as the Grand Duchess and quickly puts her fears of discovery aside by going along with the ruse. In the meantime, Orloff has sneaked out and gone back to their rooms. The Duke tells the soldiers that he and the Grand Duchess are tired from their journey and must retire.
Back in the rooms, Marian tries to ward off the Duke's advances while also hiding the fact that Orloff is in the bedroom. After a quite a few close calls and quick thinking by Marian, the phone rings. She answers it, and it is the Grand Duchess who is downstairs in the lobby. She is on her way up. Marian faints. The Grand Duke tries to revive her not knowing his wife will be walking into the room soon. Orloff is hiding in a wardrobe in the bedroom hoping he won't be discovered while also worrying about Marian's "safety" with the amorous Duke.
In spite of the potential for disaster this situation provides, all is brought to a satisfactory conclusion in the end.
copyright 2001 by Tim Lussier, all rights reserved
Return to "The Duchess of Buffalo" page