THE SAFETY CURTAIN
starring Norma Talmadge
July 26, 1918
Select has taken the story for "The Safety Curtain" from the book by Ethel M. Dell, which probably antedates the war, since it is largely set in the military circles of India without delving ino the present struggle. The plot itself has to do with the trials of Puck, an English music hall dancer, in her dramatic course to happiness. Puck was a waif forcibly married to a strong man known as Vulcan, who frequently beat his help-mate, though she really was his "meal ticket."
One night the theatre catches fire, and Puck's quick wittedness in ordering down the safety curtain saves many lives. Captain Merryon, on leave from India, leaps from a box and rescues the little dancer. The papers report her death, also that of Vulcan. So that when Merryon proposes marriage, she readily accepts, and they go to his post in India. The alliance is one of those affairs in which the husband has agreed to be husband in name only. That becuase Puck has never been sure that Vulcan was lost in the fire.
The strong man turns up in Bombay, and is tipped off by a rejected suitor of Puck's that she is wed to Merryon. Vulcan demands that she return to him, and under threat of disclosing their relation and injuring the captain's reputation, she accedes. This, while Merryon is engaged in having some plague stricken natives carried to the post hospital.
Merryon retursn to his bungalow to find that Puck has gone to Vulcan. The latter is about to beat her when he falls dead with plague, leaving the way for the little dancer and the captain to become really man and wife.
A goodly portion of the action in India occurs during rainstorms, the illusion being fairly well carried out save in one scene. The effect of hte burning theatre could have been improved. What was shown resemebled explosions more than anything else. Improvement, too, could hve been made in the Indian settings and atmosphere. But the story itself is interesting and well acted.
Norma Talmadge played her role with sincerity and cleverness. She looked very dainty as Puck, the dancr, and a loveable companion as the captain's wife. Eugene O'Brien as Merryon proved an excellent lead, with almost as meaty a role as Miss Talmadge's. In the music hall scenes there were touches of reality such as the stage manager in evneing dress, which is the English custom in the bigger halls. The names, too, of the fire victims held one or two resembling English favorites.
In general results, "The Safety Curtain," which failed to lock out Puck's past, but which started the little dancer on the road to final happiness, attains the standard of Talmadge releases.
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