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HISTORY

Although not the basis of The Win(k)some Widow, a popular 1912 Broadway musical comedy called The Winsome Widow was a significant plot point in the film, adapted from Charles H. Holt’s comedy A Trip to Chinatown (New York, 9 Nov 1891). Cissy FitzGerald (sometimes spelled as Fitz-Gerald and Fitzgerald) was in fact a star on London’s West End and on Broadway before her entrance into films, and was known for her distinctive wink. Vitagraph’s advertisement promised “Cissy Fitz-Gerald, Her Famous Wink, and All-Star Cast.” According to the 9 Dec 1914 NYDM, Vitagraph insured her wink for $25,000 as a publicity stunt.
       Vitagraph chief J. Stuart Blackton wrote himself into the script as the pilot of the motorboat used to fetch Cissy from the ocean liner.
       The film opened on a double bill with a three-reel mystery called 413 at New York's Vitagraph Theatre on Labor Day, 7 Sep 1914.
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Although not the basis of The Win(k)some Widow, a popular 1912 Broadway musical comedy called The Winsome Widow was a significant plot point in the film, adapted from Charles H. Holt’s comedy A Trip to Chinatown (New York, 9 Nov 1891). Cissy FitzGerald (sometimes spelled as Fitz-Gerald and Fitzgerald) was in fact a star on London’s West End and on Broadway before her entrance into films, and was known for her distinctive wink. Vitagraph’s advertisement promised “Cissy Fitz-Gerald, Her Famous Wink, and All-Star Cast.” According to the 9 Dec 1914 NYDM, Vitagraph insured her wink for $25,000 as a publicity stunt.
       Vitagraph chief J. Stuart Blackton wrote himself into the script as the pilot of the motorboat used to fetch Cissy from the ocean liner.
       The film opened on a double bill with a three-reel mystery called 413 at New York's Vitagraph Theatre on Labor Day, 7 Sep 1914.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture News
19 Sep 1914
p. 28
Motion Picture News
11 Jan 1915
p. 62
Motography
26 Sep 1914
p. 436
Motography
31 Oct 1914
p. 611
Moving Picture World
19 Sep 1914
p. 1613, 1658
Moving Picture World
24 Oct 1914
p. 550
NYDM
9 Dec 1914
p. 27
Variety
11 Sep 1914
p. 22
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1914
Premiere Information:
7 Sep 1914 at the Vitagraph Theatre, New York City
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Vitagraph Co. of America
12 October 1914
LP3528
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
4
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

When a Broadway musical comedy called The Winsome Widow is in financial difficulty, Cutey, the press agent, decides to lure famous Broadway actress Cissy FitzGerald into joining the cast when he hears that she is about to arrive in New York by ocean liner. Cutie rushes down to the pier, jumps into a motorboat, reaches the liner, and makes his pitch before anyone else can distract her. The actress happily accepts and leaps into the motorboat to hurry back to the pier and get started. Because Cissy is known for her famous wink, Cutey changes the title of the play to The Win(k)some Widow, and it suddenly becomes a success. In the meantime, Cissy and her wink have proved irresistible to Cutey, manager Hughie, orchestra leader Nini Tosca, millionaire Gotrocks, and a couple of other men, and when she rents a house in the country, they all decide to visit, hoping for romance. Knowing that Cissy is fond of animals, they all bring “love offerings,” from a cat to a monkey to a bear with her cub. During this crazy party, Cissy's husband returns unexpectedly, causing all ...

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When a Broadway musical comedy called The Winsome Widow is in financial difficulty, Cutey, the press agent, decides to lure famous Broadway actress Cissy FitzGerald into joining the cast when he hears that she is about to arrive in New York by ocean liner. Cutie rushes down to the pier, jumps into a motorboat, reaches the liner, and makes his pitch before anyone else can distract her. The actress happily accepts and leaps into the motorboat to hurry back to the pier and get started. Because Cissy is known for her famous wink, Cutey changes the title of the play to The Win(k)some Widow, and it suddenly becomes a success. In the meantime, Cissy and her wink have proved irresistible to Cutey, manager Hughie, orchestra leader Nini Tosca, millionaire Gotrocks, and a couple of other men, and when she rents a house in the country, they all decide to visit, hoping for romance. Knowing that Cissy is fond of animals, they all bring “love offerings,” from a cat to a monkey to a bear with her cub. During this crazy party, Cissy's husband returns unexpectedly, causing all of the men to hide or assume comic identities. Gotrocks blackens his face with chimney soot, wraps himself in a curtain, and passes himself off as her Hindu servant. Hughie pretends to be her country aunt. Tosca, pretending to be the house chef, starts a fire in the kitchen that brings an enthusiastic fire department that floods the house. In the end, all the suitors are able to leave, wetter and wiser, leaving Cissy and her husband (along with the maid who earlier lost her clothes and climbed into a barrel) floating happily together.

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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.