AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Eternal Question
Director: Burton L. King (Dir)
Release Date:   3 Jul 1916
Duration (in reels):   5
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Cast:   Olga Petrova (Bianca)  
    Mahlon Hamilton (Ralph Courtland)  
    Arthur Hoops (Grand Duke of Serdian)  
    Warner Oland (Pierre Felix)  
    Edward Martindel (Allen Tait)  
    Henry Leone (Carlo)  
    Howard Messimer (King of Montenaro)  
    Evelyn Dumo (Carlotta)  

Summary: Ralph Courtland and Pierre Felix make a $25,000 bet: Pierre contends that he can turn any peasant woman into a socialite in three months, while Ralph maintains that it takes years of breeding to produce a real "lady." They choose Bianca, an organ grinder's assistant, as their test case, and, under Pierre's guidance, she becomes an overnight society sensation. Ralph soon falls in love with Bianca, while Pierre keeps badgering him to pay off on the wager. As a result, Ralph appears to be financially ruined, until Bianca reveals that she is actually the daughter of the King of Montenaro, and had run away and disguised herself to avoid a marriage to the Grand Duke Serdian. Now Pierre has lost the bet, and, infuriated, kidnaps Bianca and tries to take her back to the Grand Duke. Ralph rescues Bianca, however, and marries her immediately, thus ending the Grand Duke's claim to her. 

Production Company: Popular Plays and Players, Inc.  
Brand Name: A Metro Wonderplay
Distribution Company: Metro Pictures Corp.  
Director: Burton L. King (Dir)
  M. N. Litson (Asst dir)
Writer: Wallace O. Clifton (Scen)
  Aaron Hoffman (Story)
Photography: Joseph Seiden (Cam)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Popular Plays and Players, Inc. 6/7/1916 dd/mm/yyyy LP8639

Physical Properties: b&w:

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Impersonation and imposture
Subjects (Minor): Kidnapping
  Organ grinders

Note: MPN lists Harry Revier as the co-director, while Wid's calls him the technical supervisor and Var says that "Burton L. King directed the picture under the supervision of Harry Revier." 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Motog   15 Jul 16   p. 155, 158
MPN   15 Jul 16   p. 274.
MPW   15 Jul 16   p. 471, 536
Variety   12 Feb 16   p. 976.
Wid's   20 Jul 16   p. 728.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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