AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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My Official Wife
Director: James Young (Dir)
Release Date:   Aug 1914
Duration (in reels):   5 or 6
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Cast:   Clara Kimball Young (Helene Marie)  
    Harry T. Morey (Arthur Bainbridge Lennox)  
    Rose E. Tapley (Laura, his wife)  
    Mary Anderson (Marguerite, their daughter)  
    Arthur Cozine (Basile Weletsky)  
    L. Roger Lytton (Baron Friedrich, chief of the Russian secret police)  
    Eulalie Jensen (Eugenie, his spy)  
    Charles Wellesley (Constantine Weletsky)  
    Louise Beaudet (Olga, his wife)  
    Earle Williams (Sacha, their nephew)  
    Helen Connelly (Sophia, their child)  

Summary: Helene Marie, a nihilist, persuades American Arthur Bainbridge Lennox to allow her to assume the role of his wife so that she can cross the Russian border. Although Lennox is already married and is deeply shocked by Helene's political views, he falls in love with her. He is unaware of the fact that while they are sharing a hotel room, she has been conspiring with her comrades to assassinate the Czar. Although Lennox discovers Helene in the arms of her lover, Sacha Weletsky, an officer of the Royal Guard, he still accompanies her to the Grand Ball. Later, however, when Lennox learns that she plans to kill the Czar during the dance, he drugs her and carries her back to their hotel. When she awakens, Helene drugs Lennox, and accompanied by Sacha, she escapes on a yacht. The couple is then pursued by the secret police, who torpedo their vessel. Later, the corpses of Sacha and Helene, locked in an embrace, float to the surface of the water. 

Production Company: Vitagraph Co. of America  
Production Text: Broadway Star Features
Distribution Company: General Film Co.  
  Special Features Dept.  
  Broadway Star Features Co.  
Director: James Young (Dir)
Writer: Marguerite Bertsch (Adpt)
Photography: Robert A. Stuart (Cam)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel My Offical Wife by Richard Henry Savage (New York, 1891).
Authors: Richard Henry Savage

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Vitagraph Co. of America 11/8/1914 dd/mm/yyyy LP3182

Physical Properties: Si:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Assassination
  Nihilists
  Russia
 
Subjects (Minor): Balls (Parties)
  Chases
  Conspiracy
  Drugs
  Hotels
  Impersonation and imposture
  Infidelity
  Officers (Military)
  Police
  Royalty
  Russians
  Torpedoes
  Yachts and yachting

Note: This film opened at the Vitagraph Theatre in New York on 13 Jul 1914. It was re-released by Greater Vitagraph, V-L-S-E on 25 Dec 1916. Arthur Clavering Gunter adapted Richard Henry Savage's novel into a play of the same name that had a brief run on Broadway, beginning on 23 Jan 1893. Available contemporary reviews for the 1914 film do not credit Gunter's play, although reviews for the 1926 Warner Bros. production of My Official Wife credit both Gunter's play and Savage's novel as sources of that film. The 1926 film was directed by Paul Stein and starred Irene Rich and Conway Tearle (see entry). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   16 Dec 16   p. 132.
MPN   8 Aug 14   p. 68.
MPN   16 Dec 14   p. 3859, 3784
MPN   24 Oct 14   p. 510.
MPW   6 Jun 14   p. 1390.
MPW   29 Aug 14   p. 1288.
MPW   16 Dec 16   p. 1347.
MPW   6 Jan 17   p. 138.
NYDM   1 Apr 14   p. 34.
NYDM   22 Jul 14   p. 26.
NYDM   9 Dec 16   p. 26.
New York Times   14 Jul 14   p. 9.
Variety   17 Jul 14   p. 17.

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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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