AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Common Law
Director: Albert Capellani (Dir)
Release Date:   15 Oct 1916
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Clara Kimball Young (Valerie West)  
    Conway Tearle (Neville)  
    Paul Capellani (Querida)  
    Edna Hunter (Rita)  
    Lillian Cook (Stephanie)  
    Julia Stuart (Mrs. Neville)  
    Edward M. Kimball (Mr. Neville)  
    Lydia Knott (Mrs. West)  
    D. J. Flanagan (Ogilvy)  

Summary: Her mother's death leaves Valerie West destitute, so she goes to work as an artist's model and becomes romantically involved with two painters: the unpredictable Querida, who does not believe in marriage, and the wealthy Neville, who wants Valerie for his wife. Stephanie, a young woman who had been engaged to Neville, pleads with Valerie not to marry him, and she agrees, knowing that Neville's parents do not approve of her lower-class background. At a New Year's party Valerie tries to placate Neville by agreeing to spend the night with him on June 1. In the months leading up to June, Valerie kills Querida when he tries to force himself upon her, and Neville's parents, realizing how deeply their son loves Valerie, finally consent to their marriage. 

Production Company: Clara Kimball Young Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Lewis J. Selznick Enterprises, Inc.  
  Selznick Pictures Corp.  
Director: Albert Capellani (Dir)
  Henri Menessier (Asst dir)
Producer: Lewis J. Selznick (Pres)
Writer: Beryl Morhange (Scen)
Photography: Jacques Monteran (Cam)
  Hal Young (Cam)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel The Common Law by Robert Chambers (New York, 1911).
Authors: Robert Chambers

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Clara Kimball Young Film Corp. 25/9/1916 dd/mm/yyyy LP9169

Physical Properties: b&w:

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Class distinction
  Painters (Of paintings)
Subjects (Minor): Attempted rape
  New Year's Eve

Note: This was the first film produced by the Clara Kimball Young Film Corp. Selznick Pictures remade The Common Law in 1923, with Corinne Griffith. (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0987.) RKO Pathé did a sound remake in 1931, directed by Paul L. Stein and starring Constance Bennett. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Motog   7 Oct 16   p. 838.
MPN   7 Oct 16   p. 2229.
MPN   16 Dec 16   p. 3847.
MPW   19 Feb 16   p. 28.
NYDM   30 Sep 16   p. 30.
Variety   29 Sep 16   p. 24.

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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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