AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Salvation Joan
Director: Wilfred North (Dir)
Release Date:   10 Apr 1916
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Edna May (Joan Crawford)  
    Harry T. Morey ("Bill," alias of John Hilton)  
    Dorothy Kelly (Madeline Ellison)  
    Donald Hall (Robert Ellison)  
    Bobby Connelly (Bobby Ellison)  
    L. Rogers Lytton (Philip Ralston)  
    Eulalie Jensen    
    Belle Bruce    

Summary: When socialite Joan Crawford tires of her shallow, upper-crust friends, she joins the Salvation Army and devotes herself to bettering slum conditions. She still maintains her high society contacts, however, and, in fact, is engaged to the wealthy Philip Ralston. Something about Philip makes Joan uneasy, though, and as a result she calls off the wedding, after which she becomes more and more attracted to Bill, a member of a slum gang. She hopes to bring out Bill's better qualities, but then discovers that he has only been posing as a criminal. In reality, he is John Hilton of the Secret Service, and he has found out that Philip is working as a spy for a foreign government, thereby confirming Joan's suspicions about her former fiancĂ©. When Philip tries to escape from the authorities, John kills him, after which he begins in earnest his romance with Joan. 

Production Company: Vitagraph Co. of America; A Blue Ribbon Feature  
Distribution Company: V-L-S-E, Inc.  
Director: Wilfred North (Dir)
Writer: Marguerite Bertsch (Scen)
Photography: Thomas F. Molloy (Cam)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Vitagraph Co. of America 22/3/1916 dd/mm/yyyy LP7903

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Espionage
 
Subjects (Major): Foreign agents
  Salvation Army
  Secret Service
  Slums
  Social workers
  Socialites
  Spies
 
Subjects (Minor): Gangsters

Note: This was the first film of Edna May, a musical comedy star who had been absent from the New York stage for the decade previous to this production. May's earlier success in the role of a Salvation Army worker in the Broadway play The Belle of New York , led to the creation of this film for her. May's salary, which one news item mentioned was $100,000, was to be donated to the Red Cross Fund to aid war sufferers, according to another news item. The film opened at the Fulton Theatre in New York on 9 Apr 1916, where Vitagraph head J. Stuart Blackton introduced Edna May to the audience. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Motog   22 Apr 16   p. 940.
MPN   22 Apr 16   p. 2368.
MPW   22 Apr 16   p. 637, 698
NYDM   8 Apr 16   p. 29.
NYDM   8 Apr 16   p. 23.
NYDM   15 Apr 16   p. 28.
New York Times   10 Apr 16   p. 11.
Variety   7 Apr 16   p. 21.
Wid's   13 Apr 16   p. 507.

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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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