Ashes of Vengeance (1923)

Melodrama | 1 October 1923

Writer:

Frank Lloyd

Producer:

Joseph M. Schenck

Cinematographer:

Antonio Gaudio

Editor:

Hal C. Kern

Production Designer:

Stephen Goosson

Production Company:

Norma Talmadge Film Co.
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HISTORY

The Dec 1922 – Feb 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review announced producer Joseph Schenck’s recent return from Europe, where he purchased motion picture rights for the 1914 H. B. Somerville novel, Ashes of Vengeance, as a starring vehicle for his wife, Norma Talmadge. A news item in the 19 Feb 1923 FD stated that actor Jack Mulhall was given a supporting role at that time, but he did not remain with the project. On 24 Mar 1923, Exhibitors Trade Review revealed that costumer Walter J. Israel spent “a little fortune” acquiring fabrics in New York City for the cast’s sixteenth-century wardrobe, which his staff assembled in Los Angeles, CA. According to the 17 Apr 1923 FD, an enormous reproduction of the Louvre ballroom was constructed at United Studios in Hollywood, CA, which was later became the headquarters of Paramount Pictures.
       The 19 Mar 1923 FD estimated the budget at $750,000, while the 20 Apr 1923 FD estimated $650,000, and $1 million in the 26 Jul 1923 Var. Because of high production costs, Schenck planned to open the picture in “legitimate” theaters charging two dollars per ticket, hoping to allay exhibitors’ concerns over charging their customers higher admission prices. Principal photography began the third week of Apr 1923, as stated in the 21 Apr 1921 Exhibitors Trade Review , and the ballroom scene was filmed the following week, according to the 28 Apr 1923 Moving Picture World. Although the 25 May 1923 FD announced that the title was changed to Purple Pride, ... More Less

The Dec 1922 – Feb 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review announced producer Joseph Schenck’s recent return from Europe, where he purchased motion picture rights for the 1914 H. B. Somerville novel, Ashes of Vengeance, as a starring vehicle for his wife, Norma Talmadge. A news item in the 19 Feb 1923 FD stated that actor Jack Mulhall was given a supporting role at that time, but he did not remain with the project. On 24 Mar 1923, Exhibitors Trade Review revealed that costumer Walter J. Israel spent “a little fortune” acquiring fabrics in New York City for the cast’s sixteenth-century wardrobe, which his staff assembled in Los Angeles, CA. According to the 17 Apr 1923 FD, an enormous reproduction of the Louvre ballroom was constructed at United Studios in Hollywood, CA, which was later became the headquarters of Paramount Pictures.
       The 19 Mar 1923 FD estimated the budget at $750,000, while the 20 Apr 1923 FD estimated $650,000, and $1 million in the 26 Jul 1923 Var. Because of high production costs, Schenck planned to open the picture in “legitimate” theaters charging two dollars per ticket, hoping to allay exhibitors’ concerns over charging their customers higher admission prices. Principal photography began the third week of Apr 1923, as stated in the 21 Apr 1921 Exhibitors Trade Review , and the ballroom scene was filmed the following week, according to the 28 Apr 1923 Moving Picture World. Although the 25 May 1923 FD announced that the title was changed to Purple Pride, Schenck told the Jul-Aug 1923 Moving Picture World that the original title was reinstated prior to release.
       An article in the May 1923 AmCin described how cinematographer Antonio Gaudio shot "filmdom's largest 'interior' at the United Studios in Hollywood." The Louvre ballroom set, designed as a replica of the real thing, was 328 feet long, requiring that a section of Stage Six's north wall had to be removed. After filming for roughly a week on the ballroom set, using 300 trained dancers, the production moved to "the Huguenot massacre set," which consisted of two 400-feet-long streets of houses and government buildings. The scene required 400 horses and 600 extras.
       Editing was underway in late Jul 1923, as noted in the 21 Jul 1923 Moving Picture World. One week later, the 28 Jul 1923 Moving Picture World reported that Schenck was still negotiating to premiere the film in a Broadway theater. The article also stated that, despite rumors of a six-month shooting schedule, photography was completed weeks earlier. Forty-eight sets were constructed for the production, and more than 2,000 background actors were used, especially for the scene depicting the St. Bartholomew’s Eve massacre of 1572. Ashes of Vengeance was reportedly Norma Talmadge’s most the most elaborate picture to date, as well as her longest, with a running time of over 105 minutes.
       On 30 Jul 1923, FD heralded the 6 Aug 1923 premiere at the Apollo theater in New York City. The film garnered positive critical notices, as stated in the 25 Aug 1923 Moving Picture World. A news item in the 13 Aug 1923 FD announced the picture’s 2 Sep 1923 opening in Chicago, IL.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
May 1923
p. 4.
Exhibitors Trade Review
Dec 1922-Feb 1923
p. 310.
Exhibitors Trade Review
24 Mar 1923
p. 845.
Exhibitors Trade Review
21 Apr 1923
p. 1043.
Exhibitors Trade Review
11 Aug 1923
p. 465.
Film Daily
19 Mar 1923
p. 4.
Film Daily
17 Apr 1923
p. 4.
Film Daily
20 Apr 1923
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 May 1923
p. 2.
Film Daily
30 Jul 1923
p. 4.
Film Daily
13 Aug 1923.
---
Moving Picture World
28 Apr 1923
p. 955.
Moving Picture World
Jul-Aug 1923.
---
Moving Picture World
7 Jul 1923
p. 42.
Moving Picture World
21 Jul 1923
p. 242.
Moving Picture World
28 Jul 1923
p. 320.
Moving Picture World
25 Aug 1923
p. 669.
Variety
19 Jul 1923
p. 20.
Variety
26 Jul 1923
p. 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Personally dir and adpt by
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Musical score by
PRODUCTION MISC
Title illustrations
Title illustrations
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Ashes of Vengeance, a Romance of Old France by H. B. Somerville (New York, 1914).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Purple Pride
Release Date:
1 October 1923
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 6 August 1923
New York pre-release opening: 7 August 1923
Chicago opening: 2 September 1923
Production Date:
began late April 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Joseph M. Schenck
Copyright Date:
30 August 1923
Copyright Number:
LP19346
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
9,893
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When 16th-century France is troubled with intense politico-religious rivalry and Catherine de Medicis launches her attack on the Huguenots, the Comte de la Roche spares the life of his enemy, Rupert de Vrieac, a Huguenot, by making him an indentured servant. At the Roche castle, Rupert falls in love with the count's sister, Yolande, who treats him coldly. When the despicable Duc de Tours attempts to force himself on Yolande by threatening to torture Rupert, Yolande yields. Fortunately, Rupert's men arrive in time to kill Lupi, the torturer. The duke dies following a duel with Rupert, and Yolande persuades her brother to release Rupert from his ... +


When 16th-century France is troubled with intense politico-religious rivalry and Catherine de Medicis launches her attack on the Huguenots, the Comte de la Roche spares the life of his enemy, Rupert de Vrieac, a Huguenot, by making him an indentured servant. At the Roche castle, Rupert falls in love with the count's sister, Yolande, who treats him coldly. When the despicable Duc de Tours attempts to force himself on Yolande by threatening to torture Rupert, Yolande yields. Fortunately, Rupert's men arrive in time to kill Lupi, the torturer. The duke dies following a duel with Rupert, and Yolande persuades her brother to release Rupert from his bondage. +

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.