The Magic Flame (1927)

Romance | September 1927

Director:

Henry King

Writer:

Bess Meredyth

Production Designer:

Karl Oscar Borg

Production Company:

Samuel Goldwyn, Inc.
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HISTORY

The 15 May 1926 Motion Picture News announced that Samuel Goldwyn had purchased screen rights to Rudolph Lothar’s 1904 novel, König Harlekin ( King Harlequin), which he would produce under the title The Vagabond Prince. Henry King was named as the director, and Vilma Banky and Ronald Colman were set to star. The 8 Aug 1926 FD reported that Bess Meredyth would write the adaptation, and production would begin following King’s completion of filming on The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926, see entry).
       According to the 20 Aug 1926 FD, United Artists Corp. (UA) was releasing a feature with the working title The Vagabond Prince at that time, starring John Barrymore. That film was ultimately released as The Beloved Rogue (1927, see entry). However, the 2 Oct 1926 Moving Picture World stated that UA would be releasing Goldwyn’s picture, The Vagabond Prince. Consequently, the 20 Oct 1926 FD indicated that Goldwyn’s film was now titled King Harlequin.
       Five months later, the 27 Mar 1927 FD announced the final title change to The Magic Flame, and noted that principal photography was underway at De Mille Studios in Culver City, CA.
       The Mar 1927 AmCin named George Barnes as chief cinematographer, and the 30 Mar 1927 Var and the 10 Apr 1927 FD added William Bakewell, Victor De Linsky, and Florence Roberts to the cast.
       On 29 Jun 1927, Var indicated that filming as well as editing had been completed, but the ... More Less

The 15 May 1926 Motion Picture News announced that Samuel Goldwyn had purchased screen rights to Rudolph Lothar’s 1904 novel, König Harlekin ( King Harlequin), which he would produce under the title The Vagabond Prince. Henry King was named as the director, and Vilma Banky and Ronald Colman were set to star. The 8 Aug 1926 FD reported that Bess Meredyth would write the adaptation, and production would begin following King’s completion of filming on The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926, see entry).
       According to the 20 Aug 1926 FD, United Artists Corp. (UA) was releasing a feature with the working title The Vagabond Prince at that time, starring John Barrymore. That film was ultimately released as The Beloved Rogue (1927, see entry). However, the 2 Oct 1926 Moving Picture World stated that UA would be releasing Goldwyn’s picture, The Vagabond Prince. Consequently, the 20 Oct 1926 FD indicated that Goldwyn’s film was now titled King Harlequin.
       Five months later, the 27 Mar 1927 FD announced the final title change to The Magic Flame, and noted that principal photography was underway at De Mille Studios in Culver City, CA.
       The Mar 1927 AmCin named George Barnes as chief cinematographer, and the 30 Mar 1927 Var and the 10 Apr 1927 FD added William Bakewell, Victor De Linsky, and Florence Roberts to the cast.
       On 29 Jun 1927, Var indicated that filming as well as editing had been completed, but the release would be delayed until Sep 1927.
       The Magic Flame opened at the Rialto Theatre in New York City on 17 Sep 1927, according to the 19 Sep 1927 FD. Reviews were positive. The 11 Sep 1927 FD praised the “well-knit” story and noted King’s expert direction and Colman’s performance. The 21 Sep 1927 Var deemed the picture “splendidly produced” and a “class boxoffice picture,” and highlighted the “highly satisfactory” partnership of Colman and Banky.
       As part of the first Academy Awards in 1929, cinematographer George Barnes received a certificate of honorable mention, in part for his work on this film and on The Devil Dancer (1927) and Sadie Thompson (1928, see entries). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Mar 1927
p. 7.
Film Daily
8 Aug 1926
p. 11.
Film Daily
20 Aug 1926
p. 2.
Film Daily
20 Oct 1926
p. 6.
Film Daily
27 Mar 1927
p. 28.
Film Daily
10 Apr 1927
p. 4.
Film Daily
3 Jul 1927
p. 6.
Film Daily
11 Sep 1927
p. 6.
Film Daily
19 Sep 1927
p. 2.
Motion Picture News
15 May 1926
p. 2344.
Moving Picture World
2 Oct 1926
p. 281.
New York Times
19 Sep 1927
p. 30.
Photoplay
Jan 1927
p. 100.
Variety
10 Nov 1926
p. 10.
Variety
30 Mar 1927
p. 20.
Variety
29 Jun 1927
p. 14.
Variety
21 Sep 1927
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Titles
PHOTOGRAPHY
Chief cine
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel König Harlekin ( King Harlequin ) by Rudolph Lothar (Munich, 1904).
SONGS
"The Magic Flame," words and music by Sigmund Spaeth, adapted from Enrico Toselli's "Serenade."
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
King Harlequin
The Vagabond Prince
Release Date:
September 1927
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 17 September 1927
Production Date:
late-March--late-June 1927
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Goldwyn
Copyright Date:
16 August 1927
Copyright Number:
LP24275
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
7,850 , 8,308
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Bianca, the aerial star of Baretti's circus, loves Tito, the clown, and resents the advances of the handsome Crown Prince of Illyria, who poses as Count Cassati. The prince pursues the wife of a neighboring squire and kills her husband when he discovers them together. Maddened by Bianca's refusals, the prince lures her to his hotel with a forged letter, but she drops from the window, using her gymnastic skill to escape. Tito comes to her aid and in a struggle with the prince casts him from the window into the sea. Bearing a striking resemblance to the prince, Tito assumes his identity and thus evades prosecution. Believing Tito to have been killed by the prince, Bianca leaves the circus to seek vengeance. During the coronation, she is about to assassinate the "prince" when he reveals his identity, and together they escape to the ... +


Bianca, the aerial star of Baretti's circus, loves Tito, the clown, and resents the advances of the handsome Crown Prince of Illyria, who poses as Count Cassati. The prince pursues the wife of a neighboring squire and kills her husband when he discovers them together. Maddened by Bianca's refusals, the prince lures her to his hotel with a forged letter, but she drops from the window, using her gymnastic skill to escape. Tito comes to her aid and in a struggle with the prince casts him from the window into the sea. Bearing a striking resemblance to the prince, Tito assumes his identity and thus evades prosecution. Believing Tito to have been killed by the prince, Bianca leaves the circus to seek vengeance. During the coronation, she is about to assassinate the "prince" when he reveals his identity, and together they escape to the circus. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Carnival/Circus


Subject

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.