The Top of New York (1922)

Melodrama | 21 August 1922

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HISTORY

The Top of New York was one of director William D. Taylor’s last two films (the other being The Green Temptation, 1922, see entry). On 1 Feb 1922, Taylor was murdered in his bungalow at 404 Alvarado Street in Los Angeles, CA. On the heels of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s manslaughter trial, which was still in the newspapers, Taylor’s homicide created a Hollywood scandal that adversely affected the careers of at least two actresses, Mabel Normand and Mary Miles Minter (see The Heart Specialist, 1922). Taylor’s murder was never solved.
       An item in the 1 Nov 1921 AmCin noted that the Mitchell Camera Company in Los Angeles, CA, sold its newest motion picture camera model to cinematographer James Van Trees, who was using it to film May McAvoy in Baby Doll, the working title of The Top of New York. According to the 20 May 1922 Moving Picture World, the “East Side” story by popular Jewish writer Sonya Levien had been published in Metropolitan magazine before being bought by Realart Pictures. The studio later retitled the story On Top of New York.
       The film opened on Broadway in New York at the Rivoli Theatre on 18 Jun 1922, along with a short documentary called Picturesque New York, a Lloyd Hamilton comedy short called Poor Boy, and a ballet number from the “Second Hungarian Rhapsody,” the 1 Jul 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review noted. Critics liked May McAvoy and the quality of the production, but dismissed the story. The Exhibitors Trade Review began its review with: ... More Less

The Top of New York was one of director William D. Taylor’s last two films (the other being The Green Temptation, 1922, see entry). On 1 Feb 1922, Taylor was murdered in his bungalow at 404 Alvarado Street in Los Angeles, CA. On the heels of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s manslaughter trial, which was still in the newspapers, Taylor’s homicide created a Hollywood scandal that adversely affected the careers of at least two actresses, Mabel Normand and Mary Miles Minter (see The Heart Specialist, 1922). Taylor’s murder was never solved.
       An item in the 1 Nov 1921 AmCin noted that the Mitchell Camera Company in Los Angeles, CA, sold its newest motion picture camera model to cinematographer James Van Trees, who was using it to film May McAvoy in Baby Doll, the working title of The Top of New York. According to the 20 May 1922 Moving Picture World, the “East Side” story by popular Jewish writer Sonya Levien had been published in Metropolitan magazine before being bought by Realart Pictures. The studio later retitled the story On Top of New York.
       The film opened on Broadway in New York at the Rivoli Theatre on 18 Jun 1922, along with a short documentary called Picturesque New York, a Lloyd Hamilton comedy short called Poor Boy, and a ballet number from the “Second Hungarian Rhapsody,” the 1 Jul 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review noted. Critics liked May McAvoy and the quality of the production, but dismissed the story. The Exhibitors Trade Review began its review with: “There is nothing extraordinarily original about the plot of this picture.” The 1 Jul 1922 Moving Picture World called it “a sob story.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 Nov 1921
p. 12.
Exhibitors Herald
8 Jul 1922
p. 39.
Exhibitors Herald
5 Aug 1922
p. 42.
Exhibitors Trade Review
1 Jul 1922
p. 307, 308.
Exhibitors Trade Review
8 Jul 1922
p. 1.
Film Daily
25 Jun 1922
p. 5.
Moving Picture World
20 May 1922
p. 277.
Moving Picture World
1 Jul 1922
p. 54.
Photoplay
Feb 1922
p. 50.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Baby Doll
Release Date:
21 August 1922
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 June 1922
released: 21 August 1922
Production Date:
late 1921
Copyright Claimant:
Realart Pictures
Copyright Date:
14 March 1922
Copyright Number:
LP18044
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,148
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hilda O’Shaunnessey lives in a New York City tenement with her younger, invalid brother, Mickey, and relatives Mr. and Mrs. Brady. Because of Mickey’s frail health, the boy spends most of his time on the roof, and Hilda works as a clerk in a department store toy department to raise enough money to send him to a sanitarium. Mickey befriends a little girl, Susan Gray, who lives with her single, artist father, Emery Gray, in a bungalow on the adjoining roof; when Emery meets Hilda, he is impressed by her devotion to her brother. As Christmas season approaches, Hilda takes an extra job in the toy department dressing up as animated dolls. Soon she catches the attention of the store’s leering proprietor, Gregory Stearns, who makes several advances toward the young beauty, and asks what gift she would like for Christmas. Knowing what the older, wealthy man has in store for her, and seeing a way out of her troubles, Hilda asks for an expensive fur coat. When Stearns delivers the gift, Hilda pawns it to pay for Mickey’s treatment at the sanitarium, then hurries to the roof to commit suicide before yielding to her employer’s desires. However, Emery Gray prevents her from jumping, and exposes Stearns as the man who stole his wife. Emery asks for Hilda’s hand in marriage, and Mickey is cured in the ... +


Hilda O’Shaunnessey lives in a New York City tenement with her younger, invalid brother, Mickey, and relatives Mr. and Mrs. Brady. Because of Mickey’s frail health, the boy spends most of his time on the roof, and Hilda works as a clerk in a department store toy department to raise enough money to send him to a sanitarium. Mickey befriends a little girl, Susan Gray, who lives with her single, artist father, Emery Gray, in a bungalow on the adjoining roof; when Emery meets Hilda, he is impressed by her devotion to her brother. As Christmas season approaches, Hilda takes an extra job in the toy department dressing up as animated dolls. Soon she catches the attention of the store’s leering proprietor, Gregory Stearns, who makes several advances toward the young beauty, and asks what gift she would like for Christmas. Knowing what the older, wealthy man has in store for her, and seeing a way out of her troubles, Hilda asks for an expensive fur coat. When Stearns delivers the gift, Hilda pawns it to pay for Mickey’s treatment at the sanitarium, then hurries to the roof to commit suicide before yielding to her employer’s desires. However, Emery Gray prevents her from jumping, and exposes Stearns as the man who stole his wife. Emery asks for Hilda’s hand in marriage, and Mickey is cured in the hospital. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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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.